Almost every time we visit the Oompa Toys Retail Store, we overhear some variation of the same conversation between a parent and child there. Mom will be trying to calmly convince her son that it is time to leave and yes, they will indeed come back soon. Or Dad ends up just having to take his daughter by the hand because of her increasingly loud protests over the thought of having to walk out of Oompa's front door.
It really is fun there.
Usually when kids go to the store, they maybe get to look at a toy while it's still in the box. Or possibly press the Try Me button and hear an annoying sound or two. But at Oompa, they are not only encouraged to come in and play, they are welcome to bring their imagination with them.
Is there a child that doesn't love hiding out in their own quiet sanctuary once in a while? The first time we saw the amazing play tents from Lucy & Michael I was pretty sure that throwing a sheet over two chairs was completely a thing of the past. These tepee-style tents are a sturdy combination of wood and cloth that will not only withstand all kinds of play but provide endless hours of imaginative possibility.
Setup and take-down are done in a matter of seconds, there's a built-in super-cute window and the amount of room inside? Let's just say that the entire tent is almost as tall as I am on the outside and provided plenty of space for Big Sister E to stand up in the inside. For someone with a large playroom, this would be a wonderful way to section off a quiet area. Or, with their portability, put one of these tents up in the yard for some great pretend-camping fun and memories that will last a lifetime.
When I finally got Big Sister E and Little Sister B out of the Lucy & Michael Tent, their imaginations were just getting warmed up. Both online and in-store, Oompa carries so many items that promote things like creative expression, independent or group play and encourage fine or gross motor skills and cognitive development.
No matter if we stop to play with a great cardboard puzzle (the selection of Crocodile Creek puzzles, balls and more are always a favorite), act out a story with their pretend play items or just admire the beautiful dollhouses and accessories, we always end up with a win-win situation at Oompa. My kids have a great time playing, learning and exploring and I am happy knowing that every toy they fall in love with is high quality, safe and lives up to Oompa's high standards.
Without fail, the Green Dollhouse with Furniture from Plan Toys has been a crowd-pleaser every time.
I love the sensory adventure that we go on each time we visit Oompa's Retail Store, but I also admire the way that they attempt to duplicate it when visiting their website. After browsing by category, brand, age or even country, you're easily able to view pictures and information about your selected items.
However, Oompa has taken things a few steps further by now including what they call "360 views" of some of their products. Simply click to grab the picture and give it a spin, showing you all angles and views that weren't possible before. The back of a toy matters just as much as the front, right? Oompa has plans to incorporate 360 views as well as product videos for all of their items in the future to make shopping that much better for everyone.
Even if you think you've seen it all with Oompa Toys, they're constantly doing more to make their website and store even better. No matter the age, gender or interests of the child you're shopping for, you'll always be impressed with their high quality toys and gear. And really, the world of imagination that their products open up truly can't be beat.
I've long lost count of the number of times my girls have gone in and out of the Knight's Tent from HABA Toys but I love the way Big Sister E's feet just stick right out the bottom when she hangs out in there.
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(This post is part of a series highlighting Oompa Toys. In exchange, they are helping sponsor me to attend the BlogHer '10 conference in August. However, that partnership has not influenced my opinion of Oompa in any way - I was a complete and utter fan long before that.)