Usually when I'm on a great store's website and I see that they have a retail location or a list of their stores, I don't hold my breath that there will be a location near me. Here in Wisconsin, we don't seem to get as many of the fun shops that those of you out in Los Angeles or New York City are accustomed to finding on a day to day basis. What? Things just aren't as exciting here? Do they think all we have are cows?
So, one year ago, when a sign went up for a new children's retail shop five minutes from my house, I didn't really think it would end up being all that thrilling. Little did I know that my city had been chosen as the home for the one and only Oompa Toys Retail Store and we now had something that those big flashy cities didn't...
And going inside can only be described as pure, jaw-dropping amazement.
You know the way that the kids felt when they first stepped into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory? How at first they almost froze and were speechless but still wanted to run around and touch absolutely everything? Imagine that, except with the most wonderful toys, gear and furniture for children of all ages and you have Oompa Toys.
"Look at all the toys, Mommy," Big Sister E whispered to me. And I did. Everywhere we turned there were bright colors and natural, beautiful materials and items that any parent would be more than happy to allow their child to play and learn and imagine with.
A friendly Oompa employee came right over and chatted with us about the store and the Monday morning story time that they had been holding (we'll definitely be there if they start it up again after the holidays!) and she even sat and built a miniature tower for Little Sister B... or tried to, as Little Sister B only gave her a very serious look and continued to move Gobblet Gobblers to the floor (see right).
We checked out the blocks and the train table and the stuffed animals and the artwork and the play food and the crib bedding and the store seemed to go on and on. I had to encourage Big Sister E to put down the item she had or climb off of the gorgeous wooden rocking horses just so that we could see everything there was to offer.
In the end, I'm not sure which of the three of us was the most impressed. Both Big Sister E and Little Sister B could have played for hours with all of the kitchen and store items ("Look, Mommy! Pizza!") and I could have perused the selection of strollers and diaper bags and baby gear and accessories forever.
Did I wish that I could trade in most of the things in our house for an Oompa replacement? Something well-crafted and high quality and beautiful? Yes. Will we be back to the Retail Store to play and dream and imagine again? Definitely. "That was a fun store, Mommy," Big Sister E told me as we were finally leaving. "That was a REALLY fun store."
After returning home from our fun outing and having lunch, the girls proceeded to play with the toy that has been a part of pretty much all of their activities since it's arrival, the Bilibo from Kid O that Oompa Toys sent us. What is a Bilibo? Why, it's a chair, a hat, a car, a drum, a turtle shell, a spinning top, a sled, a bowl, a...
It's anything your imagination wants it to be.
Designed in Switzerland for children ages 2 - 7 (although we have found that Little Sister B, at 1, loves it, as do Mommy and Daddy, who are slightly older than 7), the Bilibo can be played with alone or in a group, as it inspires creativity just by looking at it. Strong enough to hold any of us standing on it and containing no sharp edges or corners, I imagine that the Bilibo will last forever. Really, the question should be: What isn't a Bilibo?
So far, Big Sister E's favorite thing is to sit in the Bilibo, spin around and topple herself over, laughing the entire time. However, she has also gotten a kick out of using it as a rocking chair to sit in and read books as well as sliding herself with a scoot-scoot motion around the floor and calling herself a school bus driver. She's even pleased with herself when she finds a "good parking spot" for the bus, which I assume is hard to do with something that large, right?
Little Sister B heads right for the Bilibo when entering the play room and I'm always interested to see what she might do with it next. Sometimes she must see herself as the drummer in a band, as she flips the Bilibo right over and taps away. Other days, she methodically moves play food in and out of it, obviously doing some important grocery shopping. One day I sat and entertained her for quite a while by sticking My Little Pony heads in and out of the holes from underneath the Bilibo and she loved every minute of it.
Right on Oompa's website it states, "No batteries. No blinking lights. No cartoon-themed toys. Period." Whether you're shopping for a newborn, a toddler or an older child, they have an amazing variety of items that will spark creativity and imagination and delight all ages, as well as be loved by kids and parents alike for years.
On top of the high quality, Oompa only sells toys that come from companies that care about their employees (they go to great lengths to ensure humane and safe working conditions) and will withstand generations of use. They strive for 100% customer satisfaction and, from my experiences at the Retail Store and with our Bilibo, I find it hard to believe that they could ever fall short. Thanks to their generosity...
One lucky person will win their choice of color* Bilibo from Kid O courtesy of Oompa Toys! ARV $29.99!
To enter to win: Visit Oompa Toys and tell me which of their amazing items(s) you would love to own AND which color Bilibo you would choose.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted)
1 Extra Entry (per method) if you follow Oompa Toys on Twitter and/or sign up for their newsletter (found at the lower right corner of their site).
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
Oompa Toys offers endless creativity and imagination with a BILIBO @thxmailcarrier from @oompatoys! http://bit.ly/7kj3dt #win #giveaway
2 Extra Entries (per follow method) if you follow me with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email.
3 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
3 Extra Entries if you blog about this giveaway linking back to Thanks, Mail Carrier and Oompa Toys. Please leave an address where it can be found.
*Depending on availability of stock. Oompa will of course try their hardest to get you your first color choice, though!
Giveaway will end on January 14th at 11:59pm CST. Please do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile. I have to have a way to contact the winners. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to US residents only (no P.O. Boxes, please).
A huge thank you to Brianna at Oompa Toys for providing a yellow Bilibo by Kid O for review as well as a Bilibo of choice for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.