How exciting that our local village toyshop has recently gone ‘online’ with an awesome, new web site. I couldn’t be more thrilled for the owner Kirsten. She already has a monthly guest spot on Global TV for hot tips on new toys and trends because her suggestions were SO popular from Christmas. I discovered her store, shortly after having Francesco and boy is it a magical place. You walk through the door and find toyologists wearing lab coats armed with more product knowledge and recommendations that you can handle! <smile> Not only do they know all my kids by name and are super friendly, they are able to answer any question! Each toyologist can tell you about a toy’s manufacturer, the materials it’s made from, and how you can maximize the toy’s value. Their customer service is amazing and the intimate shopping experience is one that everyone should experience.
In a time where cheaper toys are being recalled for malfunctions or paint is testing high for chemicals, upper scale toys are in demand for parent’s peace of mind. I don’t mind Playmobil’s prices because I’m confident they’ll never be recalled or have any problems (haha…have I mentioned I’m a hug fan of Playmobil?). This may sound really paranoid, but I’m certain right before a company like Mattel or MEGA Brands recalls millions of toys, I’ll see these products at highly reduced prices at Winners. I remember being tempted to buy the Magnimals game for next to nothing the week before they were recalled. I’m sure there’s a big conspiracy between large toy manufacturers and discount retail stores. In recent years, I’ve realized that buying crappy toys just adds to the clutter in my house and doesn’t offer much value with the kids and how they play. Toys offering a social message, that teach science or math, dress up clothes, puzzles, card games, or Playmobil sets encouraging imaginative play are the focus of our toy purchases these days. These are sustainable items…not massive amounts of cheap plastic that will end up outlasting my life span at the landfill.
I’ve written many articles about supporting local farmers or purchasing clothing through Etsy to support a stay home mom that can sew, well the small toyshops are no exception. If you support the ‘small’ shops in your community, they are giving back in special ways. You can bet the big retail toy stores are not thinking of ideas to help your children. Kirsten gives back in many ways but one that directly affected my kids and is such an awesome idea is her position on ‘war’ toys. To quote her site:
“There has long been a debate as to the merits of trying to keep toy weapons out of the hands of children and while some would argue that it is part of maturation and development to engage in such role playing we believe if they must play with guns, let them use their imaginations to create them.”
Francesco’s school was involved with her program called ‘Violent Toy Turn in Event’ where kids bring violent toys, video games, etc. to exchange them for coupons to her store to purchase more peaceful playthings. We happily gave up the only ‘violent’ toy we own and he received two $1 gift certificates to Kirsten’s store. Her store does carry water squirters and Playmobil figures, like knights and soldiers, but there are historic undertones to these toys rather than violent. Isn’t that initiative amazing? Imagine if all toy stores sparked this program with schools – it would affect social change!
I can’t wait to see what her next toy pick will be on Global – a little birdie mentioned that Eco friendly toys will be entering the lime-light soon. Congratulations Kirsten!
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