This year, instead of the lines and crowds at all of the typical big box stores, it's time to experience the benefits and quality found at your neighborhood toy stores. And there's no better time to support your community while celebrating the joy of shopping for toys than by participating in the 3rd annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day this Saturday, November 10th, 2012.
Neighborhood Toy Store Day introduces families to the fun of shopping locally and celebrates each toy store's commitment to the community. Participating stores will host local in-store events for families such as activities, craft projects, live performances and/or special discounts to help kick off the holiday shopping season and celebrate the joy of shopping for toys!
This great annual event is coordinated by the non-profit organization ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. As the largest association serving the specialty toy industry, ASTRA provides leadership and resources to grow this sector.
Their members carry the innovative toys that are designed with a focus on what the child can do, rather than what the toy can do. In other words, these are the products that are about the features of the play more than the features of the toy. It is what they have dubbed The Woohoo Factor!
As well as offering amazing toys, shopping local has other important implications as well.
Did you know that, according to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in local, independently-owned stores, $68 returns to the community in the form of taxes, salaries, charitable contributions and more — in contrast with only $43 when consumers spend their money at a national chain?
As well as supporting the community, other benefits to shopping at local toy stores include...
- Economic stability
- Community development
- Reduced environmental impact
- Better customer service
- A diverse product selection - independent toy stores tend to carry many of the high-quality, boutique and specialty products not typically found in big box stores
In the meantime, ASTRA has allowed us to check out a few terrific examples of the types of quality toys that are found in neighborhood toy stores, and we've been impressed with all three of them!
My First Super Science Kit by Be Amazing Toy Company
A winner of ASTRA's Best Toys for Kids 2012 award (in the Science Play category), the My First Super Science Kit allows junior scientists to explore, experiment and discover. Including materials for over 70 exciting science experiments, this uniquely-designed kit provides open-ended and creative play, while upholding exceptional safety standards.
Appropriate for children ages 4+, My First Super Science Kit can be found at independent toy stores nationwide with a retail price of $39.99.
Puppet-on-a-Stick by Educational Insights
Another winner of ASTRA's Best Toys for Kids 2012 award (in the Pretend/Doll Play category), Puppet-on-a-Stick includes a set of three adorable pals that can be used for just about any imaginary play. Named Kai, Lex and Fez, these puppets have oversize heads with wacky googly eyes, a moveable mouth and a handle.
What kids wouldn't be inspired when it is so easy to move these puppets and include them in their next puppet show, pretend play, story time and more? Designed for ages 4+, Puppet-on-a-Stick can be found at independent toy stores nationwide with a retail price of $9.99.
BRIO Classic Figure 8 Train Set by Schylling Toys
Is there a child that doesn't love trains? This award-winner (in the Classic Play/0-7 category) features a classic wooden railway set that can entertain kids of all ages. Including 15 track pieces, a sleek engine, two railway cars plus accessories to build the perfect "figure 8" train track, this set has the ability to provide an endless amount of creative play for years to come.
Suggested for ages 2+, the BRIO Classic Figure 8 Train Set can be found at independent toy stores nationwide with a retail price of $49.99.
Be sure to mark your calendars for this Saturday, November 10th so that you won't miss out on celebrating all that is great about shopping locally, while supporting your community. Why not cross off a few people off of your list with items that you won't find elsewhere?
Be sure to visit YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org to find participating locations near you and like The Woohoo Factor on Facebook and on Twitter, (you can also follow along on Twitter using the #toystoreday #localtoystore or #shoplocal hashtags) to keep up with all things Neighborhood Toy Store Day.
(Other than the toys that I was sent by ASTRA in conjunction with my membership to Team Mom, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of these products.)