I am a longtime fan of the neighborhood toy store.
In fact, I can honestly say that I honest-to-goodness totally heart my neighborhood toy store. And I think you should too.
- Why I Totally Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store (& You Should Too!):
Not only do neighborhood toy stores boost local economy and develop and enrich communities, these independent retailers keep town centers hoppin’ and keep families smilin’ due to the diverse–often unique–product selection and top-notch customer service.
My own local toy store, Olney Toys, is seated right next to a coffee shop and drug store and was a regular stop on the kids’ and my weekly errands, especially when they were younger. With a train set and dollhouse out for kids to oogle over and try, there was always a new toy to check out or a pal to chat with.
When I saw the owners of our toy store at Toy Fair this year, I nearly had a heart attack, jumping up and down, dancing, hooting, and hollering. They are great people, and they hugged me like I needed them to, hung out with me for a while, and then went on their merry way.
I like them. I would love, love, love to own my own toy store, so I do really want them to do well. It’s all awesome.
We totally and completely heart ThinkFun’s Zingo Sight Words. . .
- Best Toys For Kids List, 2013: I also want my great readers to be on top of the latest when it comes to best toy recommendations for their kids and loved ones.
Did you know that there’s a non-profit organization called ASTRA (The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) that provides leadership and resources to grow the specialty toy industry? I didn’t, either, up until a few years ago when I started attending Toy Fair.
. . . which is a smart game for early readers that made ASTRA’s 2013 list!
Each year, ASTRA gathers 650 experts and asks them to create a list of the Best Toys for Kids that year.
They vote on:
- a toy’s ability to promote open-ended or creative play;
- a toy’s innovative design features;
- a toy’s exceptional safety standards.
The 21 winning toys are on a list for kids of all ages, and it’s essentially designed to help toy shopping easier for parents and guardians. I love it.
Another of our fave toys from the list this year: ThinkFun’s Laser Maze
- The ‘I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store’ Sweepstakes: Yay. As if you really even need another reason to support your local toy store, right?
The good folks at ASTRA are celebrating the fun of shopping for toys at your local toy store with an ‘I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store’ Sweepstakes.
Through November 8, 2013, log in and win some seriously huge prizes. A family vacation. Crazy toy prizes from fab brands that we all love. Big prizes and lots of ‘em. All well over $200 each. Check it out.
Go enter for your chance to win and please let me know if you do!
Do you frequent your local toy store? Do you love yours like I love mine?
fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as part of the ASTRA Blog Ambassador program. As always, my opinions and ideas reflect my experience as a parent, teacher, and lover of all things done in the name of learning and fun!