Why I Love My Neighborhood Toy Store

Disclosure: In any review for a product or service, products or compensation may have been provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” and "Terms of Use" tabs for more information.

Whenever possible, I prefer to shop both locally and at non-big-box chains, as anyone who follows me on Foursquare already knows.  You get more personalized (and often better) customer service, a variety of toys you don’t always find in chains, and the quality of the merchandise that is available is often of a higher quality then you can find in larger chain stores.

One of our favorite toy stores, and one I have written about before, is The Learning Express of Montclair, NJ.  They have the nicest sales staff, really cool (and educational, fun) toys stocking the shelves, and never (not even once) have I bought a toy from them that broke within a year.  (The one that broke after a year was inflated much too  much by an enthusiastic 4 year old.)

Gift wrapping is available, the team that works there actually knows A- what products they have in stock, B- where to find them, and C- what to suggest if you need an idea or what you are talking about if you come in with a vague idea of what you are looking for and don’t know the actual name.  Imagine that!  An informed, caring staff.

Our local toy store also has nearly all of ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids available.  Non-Profit organization ASTRA helps parents and people with kids in their lives easier by compiling a list of the year’s best toys that they can refer to, based on a panel of 650 expert judges.

Some of the included toys this year are (click here for the full list of toys)-

Bunny Peek A Boo

learning games for kids

In our house, my husband and son love games. They love when we get to have our special game nights. I am always on the look out for new games that we can add to these. Bunny Peek a Boo will be a new regular for us, even if it is meant to be a 1 person game.

  • 1 Player Games
  • Multilevel
  • Easy Storage
  • Durable

The Smart Games company has a large variety of games for your children. They are great because they can all be played with just one person, or you can easily adjust for more people to join you.

About Bunny Boo:

This is a 3D puzzle for young children that uses 4 wooden blocks. With Bunny Peek A Boo, children attempt to put the Bunny and blocks together in order to match one of the 60 different challenges that are included on cards.

This game is a great and fun way to introduce logic, problem solving, as well as spatial dynamics.

magnetic puttyMy son and husband’s personal favorite was the toy with the longest name in the world- Super Magnetic Tidal Wave Thinking Putty by Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld.  (Seriously- who let that name happen?)

A normal putty when there are no magnets or metals, when a strong magnet is held close to Tidal Wave, you probably won’t feel anything at first. However, the strength will continue to increase as the magnetic field expands throughout the entire piece of putty over time.

Once Tidal Wave is charged by a magnet, you can flip it backwards to feel it actively repel the magnet. Hold it in place against the repulsion and count to five.  The magnetic poles of the Thinking Putty flip again and it morphs from repulsion to attraction.

What can Tidal Wave do? Here are just some of the many tricks you can do using Tidal Wave Super Magnetic Thinking Putty:

  • Attract a magnet or other pieces of Tidal Wave.
  • Repel a magnet and then attract it back again.
  • Pick up lightweight metal objects.
  • Lock a tendril in space against gravity.
  • Reveal the shape of the field lines emanating from a permanent magnet.
  • Move, roll, and lift a magnet from a distance.
  • Melt around a magnet and the putty will actually lift it off the table.

My husband is a little too interested in this toy- not just for actual kids, but kids at heart, apparently!  This toys is great for thinking fun and creativity.  And boys being boys.

Check out www.yourneighborhoodtoystore.org to win an amazing sweepstakes!

Enter to win some toys and get ready to play!  Six individual winners will be selected to win one of the following featured prizes:

You can even win a trip!

Thomas & Friends™ invites you on the family vacation of a lifetime at select all inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Note: This Sweepstakes is open to legal U.S. residents except for residents of Florida,  Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and other foreign United States  territories. Click here to view the official rules and regulations.

Enter to win a trip for four and have some fun in the sun!

So go on and enter now, good luck, and happy shopping to you.


  1. Michele Ertter Brosius says

    The selection in our local toy store is so much fun. They have toys available for the kiddos to get hands on play time. I love shopping local.

  2. we have two local toy stores that we frequent here. for the same reasons you do!! and i like supporting the local folks

  3. Amber Edwards says

    I want a local toy store like this!! So many awesome toys there! Plus they usually have unique toys that you don’t normally find at mass retail stores.

  4. Alaina Bullock says

    We have a locakl toy store that we love to shop at too! I can find some of the cutest and most unique toys there, and I love the idea of supporting a local business!

  5. Local stores are great. I like to get birthday presents there because they have unique items.

  6. The Learning Express is one of our favorite places to visit when we go to see family in North Jersey. My kids could stay there for hours! We are big fans of local toy and book stores. They just offer better quality products and selection.

  7. I love shopping at local toy stores because of the variety! One of the local toy stores here has a lot of classic toys that engage thinking and problem-solving, as well as being fun! I don’t think anything it even carries is electronic, except a few animatronic animals, remote control cars, and talking dolls. Definitely a nice break from the virtual life that our children experience so much of nowadays!

Speak Your Mind