Mamanista! » Baby Gifts, Building Toys, Contests, Featured, Gift Ideas, Hip Find, Play, Toy Stores, Toys (All Ages) » Shop Local: Support Neighborhood Toy Stores

Shop Local: Support Neighborhood Toy Stores

ASTRAGoing to the toy store is a magical experience and a real treat for kids. Local toy stores often have impressive displays of stuffed animals, dolls and trains. My son’s favorite spot is the train table at our local store.

While he plays happily with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, I have the opportunity to discover some high-quality toys unavailable at the big box stores. And I can count on the friendly store owner to provide expert advice on the best gifts for the kids on my holiday list (and free gift wrapping on my purchases).

Another helpful source of shopping advice is the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) 2009 Best Toys for Kids Award Winners. Over 500 of America’s top independent and neighborhood toy retailers selected the Best Toys for Kids based on their experience and understanding of what kids like. The winners are:

  • Infant Play (0 – 12 months):  Sophie Giraffe by Calisson Inc and Natural Skwish by Manhattan
  • Toddler Play (1 – 3 years):  Twilight Ladybug by Cloud B and Wee Wedgits by ImagAbility
  • Pretend Play – Role Play: Tea Set from Recycled Milk jugs by Green Toys and Shopping Cart by Melissa & Doug
  • Pretend Play – Fantasy Play: Reversible Knight/Dragon Cape and Reversible Knight/Dragon Hood by Creative Education of Canada and  Egyptian Pyramid by Playmobil
  • Constructive Play: Automoblox Vehicles by Manhattan Toy and Magformers Multicolored 30pc Magnetic Building Set
  • Creative Arts Play:  Create Your Own Pop-up Books by Creativity for Kids and Sticky Mosaic Twinkle Tiaras by The Orb Factory
  • Scientific Play: Snap Circuits Green by Elenco and Power House Green by Thames & Kosmos
  • Active Play: Ezy Roller by Ezy Roller and Original Djubi by PAV/Moonracer
  • Game Play (3 – 7 years): Chickyboom by Blue Orange
  • Game Play (8+ years): Bananagrams by Bananagrams
  • Just For Fun: Mini collectable Eraser by BC Office
  • Classic Play (Older): Doinkit Darts by Marky Sparky
  • Classic Play (Younger): Magnatiles by Valtech

Many of my favorite toys are on this list. As an infant, my son loved his Skwish and Sophie the Giraffe teether, and he falls asleep nightly to the soft glow of his Twilight Turtle. And Bananagrams is my favorite travel game.  Since the ASTRA picks seemed so high quality, I was inspired to try the Wee Wedgits by ImagAbility.


My toddler has spent hours playing with these soft blocks. He can stack them, chew on them, play with them in the bath, throw them and even wear them as bracelets. Wee Wedgits have smooth, rounded edges and are made from non-toxic, phthalate free poly-vinyl material. Children (and even adults) will enjoy building amazing geometric designs as well as simple stacking pyramids.

Thanks to ASTRA and the folks at ImagAbility, we have a set of Wee Wedgits available to giveaway on Mamanista.

WANT IT:  Buy Wee Wedgits at your local ASTRA store. Click here to find a store near you.

WIN IT: ImagAbility is giving away one Wee Wedgits (30 piece set) to a  Mamanista reader to spread the word about the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids List.

  • Required Entry: Please visit ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids page and leave us a comment on this post telling us the name of your local ASTRA toy store. (There’s a store finder map on the page.)
  • Additional Entries (up to three): You can receive up to three additional entries by linking to and/or sharing our Hottest Holiday Toys Guide (see rules at the bottom of the guide) and leaving separate comments on this post for each mode of entry.

Contest on ends December 3, 11:59 PM EST. Open to U.S. Shipping Only.

Written by

Debbie Bookstaber started Mamanista in 2007 with her friend Candace Lindemann. Debbie and Candace also are the co-founders of, which empowers bloggers to become philanthropic leaders in their communities. Through their annual awards, recognizes bloggers who effectively use social media for social good. Debbie lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and two young sons. She's an active volunteer in her community and a working mom. Debbie is a partner at Element Associates and the Social Media Director at Child's Play Communications. You can follow Debbie on Twitter @buzzmommy or meet her at a future blogging or tech conference, where she frequently speaks about social good efforts, SEO or affiliate marketing.

Filed under: Baby Gifts, Building Toys, Contests, Featured, Gift Ideas, Hip Find, Play, Toy Stores, Toys (All Ages) · Tags: , , ,

74 Responses to "Shop Local: Support Neighborhood Toy Stores"

  1. trixx says:

    My local store is Carol School Supply Co Inc 179 28 Union Turnpike, Flushing, NY 11366

  2. Gianna says:

    Creative Kidstuff in maple grove, MN :)

  3. Chrysa says:

    Creative Kidstuff, Maple Grove, MN is closest.

  4. rajee says:

    Our local store is Thinker Toys.

  5. Angela G says:

    The closest store to me is Tomboy Games and Stores in Lakewood, WA.

  6. Angela G says:

    I stumbled the Toy Guide ag1414

  7. Angela G says:

    I dugg the Toy Guide ag1414

  8. Jessica says:

    My closest store is creative kids stuff

  9. Early says:

    I bow down humbly in the presence of such geranests.

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  22. […] but I have also been writing about ASTRA (the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) from my early blogging years when I first encouraged readers to checkout their awesome suggestions for quality toys for all ages […]

  23. Ayaka says:

    These are some of the toys my 2 nieces have, they are both neraly 19 months old.Fisher-Price Laugh Learn: Learning Puppy Introduces baby to the alphabet, numbers, counting, parts of the body, colors and more. Fisher-Price Laugh Learn Vacuum Cleaner Baby will learn things like opposites, actions and objects through sung songs and appropriate activities.Fisher-Price Laugh Learn Say Please Tea Set Introduce the delights of pretend play while helping baby learn about counting, shapes, opposites, manners and more.Fisher-Price Laugh Learn: Learning Purse Baby will learn about numbers, colors, size, opposites, and greetings.There are a lot of other Fisher Price Laugh and Learn stuff that are cute and educational too, as well as lots of other fisher price toys that are also educational. But I love all the Laugh and Learn toys.Hope this helps and good luck, :D

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