Going 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.