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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? I didn`t know that either until I recently found out about the 3rd annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day which is Saturday, November 10th 2012. So be sure to mark your calendars! You have a little over a month so plan ahead! Shopping locally fosters a sense of community and provides economic stability, community development. reduced environmental impact, a diverse product selection as well as better customer service. In addition, independent toy stores tend to carry many of the high-quality, boutique and specialty products not typically found at big box stores.
On Neighborhood Toy Store Day 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 event introduces families to the fun of shopping locally and celebrates each toy store`s commitment to the community. The annual even is coordinated by the non-profit organization ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. To find a local Neighborhood Toy Store Day even near you, visit yourneighborhoodtoystore.org. Yourneighborhoodtoystore.org is an online resource for parents interested in learning more about the best toys on the market and where to find them. The website features articles with expert advice on toys and play for children of all ages, a local toy store locator, toy buying guides and much more!
Here`s 2 participating toy stores in my area:
It just so happens that the particular toys I received to review are available at independent toy stores nationwide! First up on the list is the Puppet-ON-a-Stick by Educational Insights. Puppet-on-a-stick is a winner of ASTRA`s Best Toys for Kids 2012 award (category: Pretend/doll play). These adorable puppets can be used for puppet shows, pretend play, story time, YouTube theater and more! Each puppet has an over-sized head with wacky googly eyes, a movable mouth and a handle.  The puppet on a stick was chosen to for the ASTRA award because of its ability to promote open-ended and creative play with its creative design features and its exceptional safety standards. It`s only $9.99 retail value and perfect for kids ages 4 and up. This is perfect for Sophia`s age, especially being in a pre-school where she has to do homework. We discovered this makes for a great learning tool while she is still able to have fun and be silly at the same time. It`s definitely the best way for a young child to learn.
Next up on the list was the BRIO Classic Figure 8 Train Set by Schylling Toys. This one was a winner on the ASTRA`s Best Toys for kids 2012 award (category: Classic Play/0-7). The wooden railway set includes 15 track pieces, a sleek engine, two railway cars plus accessories to build the perfect "figure 8" train track. This toy set was chosen for its award for its ability to promote open-ended and creative play as well as it`s creative design features and its exceptional safety standards. It`s retailed at $49.99 and is a great toy for children ages 2 and up. Sophia particularly LOVED this one! She has loved the wooden trains since she could barely walk and she saw one set up at a local toy store one day. Ever since she was in love. I love it because it`s safe for her to play with and even as an adult it`s still fun to set up the train tracks and play with it -- now I just have Sophia as an excuse to get away with it without looking crazy!
Finally on our list we have the Ogo Sport RAQ by OgoSport. This one was my husband and I`s favorite out of the group. It was the winner of ASTRA`s Best Toys for Kids 2012 award (category: Active play). This fun outdoor game combines disc and racquet play. Players can throw the racquets like flying discs, throw and catch the flux ball with the racquets or invent their own game with water balloons, baseballs or tennis balls. The possibilities are endless! This set included two racquets with elastic mesh nets and a flux ball with movable tail parts that retails $34.99. This particular game is suggested for kids aged 6 and up, but Sophia is 4, going on 5 in January, and loved it as well! She likes any game she can play with mommy and daddy to be honest with you. I guess this is why this one was our favorite, because it`s something we can all play together, we`re being active and of course it`s fun.
While it was reviewing and playing with the toys the reality of this post is mostly to support our local toy stores. It is true that they have higher quality toys than national toy stores. I can tell you that from first hand experience and I can feel the difference between nationally bought toys and the ones we just tried out. The toys from local shops are generally meant to last a long time. They have good reputations and want to keep them. Help support them on Neighborhood Toy Store Day this November!
Where`s the nearest toy store holding an event near you? Share in a comment below! By the way, like the Woo Hoo Factor on Facebook and follow the woo hoo factor on twitter to keep up with all the latest toy store related news!
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