Mamanista! » Contests, Educational, Featured, Gift Ideas, Hip Find, Play, School Aged Children, Socially Conscious » Supporting The Shop Around the Corner

Supporting The Shop Around the Corner

Looking for a last-minute Hanukkah present or last-minute Christmas present? Visit your local toy store! There are so many benefits to shopping locally. One of the big benefits: education.

Local stores provide personalized service. I have a great relationship with my local store owner, and I have appreciated some of their tips and product recommendations. My neighborhood toy store carries unique educational toys.

But I bet you didn’t know that you are actually supporting your local schools when you shop locally. I serve on my local school board, so I spend a considerable amount of time analyzing school budgets. Did you know that commercial properties pay real estate taxes which support local schools in most states? When these stores do poorly and close, the properties are often reassessed and that erodes the real estate tax base.  The result? Revenue for schools goes down, and school districts must either tax or cut programs to balance the budget.


To raise awareness about the importance of shopping locally, we’re giving away 3 more Award-Winning toys from the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids List. These toys are educational AND a hit with kids. They were selected by toy retailers across America based on their expertise and the feedback they hear regularly from their customers!

Chicky Boom (ARV $25)  –  A game of balance that will challenge your fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Collect as many chickens, hay bales and wagon wheels as you can before the perch topples.


Bananagrams (ARV $25) –  A fast, fun word game for kids and adults. Bananagrams is my favorite travel game, and it was one of Mamanista’s top picks in 2008. If you don’t own this soon-to-be-a-classic game, you are missing out on some fast-paced educational fun that develops spelling and vocabulary skills.  Bananagrams has the educational aspects of Scrabble but takes just 5 minutes to play– great for busy kids and adults.

Create Your Own Pop-Up Books by Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell (ARV $20) – It’s hard to imagine a better present for an aspiring young writer or artist. This kit comes with two hardcover books. Kids add pictures and photos as well as a story. This is also a great present for Grandmom or Grandpop. Have your child write a story for the proud grandparents, and they’ll treasure the homemade gift that shows what a brilliant, perfect grandchild they have.

WANT IT: Visit the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Site to locate a specialty toy store near you!

WIN IT: To win one of the three prizes described above:

  • Required Entry: Please visit the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Site and leave us a comment on this post telling us why you think it’s important to support local toy stores OR telling us the name/location of your local specialty toy store.
  • 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 21, 11:59 PM EST. Open to U.S. Shipping Only. Winner chosen using

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: Contests, Educational, Featured, Gift Ideas, Hip Find, Play, School Aged Children, Socially Conscious · Tags: , , , ,

37 Responses to "Supporting The Shop Around the Corner"

  1. Stephanie V. says:

    So important to support your local mom and pop toy store. They are often snuffed out by the big competition but always offer more personalized service, better knowledge of the toys and other mom and pop toy makers.
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  2. Carol says:

    Here’s my closest store:

    Sparkhouse Kids, LLC
    15 Scotland Rd
    South Orange, 07079, NJ
    phone: (973) 821-5227 —

  3. Lana says:

    The closest store for me would be Hobbytown in Lincoln, NE.

  4. Hollie says:

    Barston’s Child’s Play in Rockville, Md is our closest. The staff is really friendly and when I’ve bought presents they’ve wrapped them for me.

  5. Jackie says:

    I think it’s important to support local toy stores because the owner’s are usually from your own area. I find a lot of toys in my local toy store that I don’t find in the big stores. They also offer more personal service…and usually free gift wrapping!

  6. Vicki wurgler says:

    it’s very important to support local toy stores-you get better service and they know you as a customer. we do not have a local Mom & pop store – I have gone to the Twin cities and shopped for toys and gifts for christmas

  7. Jennifer says:

    I try so hard to do a lot of my shopping at local businesses. We live in a small town and it is so sad to see most of main street with empty store fronts. I did their toy store finder and got Alphabet Soup Inc in Ithaca, NY.

  8. Jana says:

    The closest location is Megan’s Toybox Bellevue, WA

  9. carol says:

    Here’s wonderful toy specialty store near me: Brighter Starts LLC
    251 Knoll Dr
    Park Ridge, 07656, NJ
    phone: (201) 505-0092 —
    fax: (201) 505-0892 —

  10. Jill L says:

    Three Crazy Monkeys in York PA is the closest to me. There used to be one closer that I really enjoyed shopping at. I think stores like these have so much more to offer than the big chains. I think their selections are better and there is so much more of a personal touch.

  11. Molly K says:

    My local store is Creative Kidstuff in Maple Grove, MN.

  12. Chrysa says:

    Creative Kidstuff locations in the Twin Cities metro are fantastic!

  13. Tari L. says:

    Lucky Duck Toys
    428 W. Swedesford Rd.
    Berwyn, 19312, PA

    is the store closest to me.

  14. Kristi C says:

    I think it is better to shop the local toy stores because they tend to have a better selection of toys that encourages creativity and imagination in play than the local big box stores.

  15. Tracey Byram says:

    The closest store for me is in Mobile, AL.

  16. adrienne gordon says:

    It is always important to support your local stores as these people are the heart of what makes america great.

  17. Sandra K321 says:

    We have the best little local toy store in the area right in our little town. It’s called Geppetto’s Toys in Woodbury, CT. My kids have grown out of the toy stage but when they were younger we bought tons of great quality toys there, like Playmobil, Smithsonian dinosaurs, and wooden puzzles.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Local stores tend to have more unique and higher quality toys, rather than mass produced cheap plastic stuff you find at big box stores!

  19. lilshuga2001 says:

    Wind Up Here
    121 5th Ave SE
    Olympia, 98501, WA

  20. Lisa says:

    My local specialty toy store is Toy Kingdom: 36 Maryland Avenue, Unit C, Rockville, MD 20850. So much great stuff in there!!

  21. Jennifer M says:

    Ours is West Side Kids
    New York, NY
    (212) 496-7282

    Most of my daughter’s birthday presents were from there!

  22. helenlam says:

    My favorite local independent toy store is The Ark Toy Company in Berkeley, CA. They have a very different kind of stock than the big box stores and are super-helpful with suggesting toys as gifts.

  23. Heather says:

    I didn’t realize but there is a toy sore near me The Turtles Nest in Johnson City Tn! It is important to support local toy stores because a lot are just staying open on little money!

  24. Annette E says:

    My closest store is Brilliant Sky Toys & Books in Phoenix.

  25. heather h. says:

    Kobold Toys
    Narberth, PA
    (610) 667-2130

  26. Melissa M. says:

    Shopping locally means the money stays locally :)

  27. Mellissa C says:

    The closest to me is Trains N Toys in North Canton,OH

  28. trixx says:

    I enjoy going to ToyQube 37-06 Prince Street, Flushing, NY 11354!

  29. Christine says:

    We have a great speciality toy store that we frequent. My son’s kindergarten teacher even works part-time there! It is The Learning Shop in Wauwatosa, WI
    Thanks for the chance!

  30. Angie O says:

    It’s important to support the local toy store because they provide a lot to our elementary school students!

  31. Sandra S. says:

    My closest store is the
    Learning Ladder
    1430 Twixt Town Rd
    Marion, IA 52302


  32. Gianna says:

    The Gumdrop Tree
    53 East Broadway, Suite A
    Little Falls, 56345, MN

  33. Katie says:

    It’s great when you can walk into a store and the people there know your name. My grandpa owned a little book store and it was great interacting with the customers who have been coming there for years, you get a feeling of family with local stores.

  34. Noreen says:

    have one of these toy stores where we used to live and they have the coolest toys. Whenever we visit my daughters always want to get something

  35. Clarissa says:

    its important to support local stores because its someone’s job at steak

  36. educational toys are always helpful to train our kids. kids can really learn from educational toys *;-

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