As parents, we always want the best for our kids whether we’re looking at schools, experiences, food we’re putting on the table, electronics, or toys. It can be hard to keep up with new products entering the space but it doesn’t have to be if you know where to look.
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) recently launched YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org, a new website designed to serve as a resource to help parents learn about the best toys on the market and where to find them. The website is a one stop resource that connects parents with local toy stores, specialty toy makers, and industry experts in order to help families discover the “woohoo factor,” the joy and excitement of playing with great toys together.
Critical consumers may view the site as a clever marketing ploy to create frenzied toy buying especially as we approach the holiday months but a closer look at the site reveals well written articles on a variety of topics that are designed to educate parents. Read about everything from the importance of play, toy safety tips, sensory play as part of the scientific process, fostering social and emotional growth through play, and ways to nurture creativity through play. There’s even an article about one of the most coveted toys that is often overlooked by adults but never by kids- the cardboard box!
What else can you find on YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org? A wealth of content including:
- ASTRA’s list of Best Toys for 2012. I was thrilled to see favorites like Perplexus, Snap Circuits, Kickin’ Go, Expert advice on toys and play for children of all ages through feature articles
- Up-to-date information on creative and educational play and toy trends
- A handy toy store locator with information on where to find the best toys in your neighborhood. Find the Store Locator in the header and just enter your city, state, and zip to find nearby independent toy stores.
- Information about the benefits of shopping local. After all, local, independent toy stores support the community and tend to offer many high-quality, specialty products not typically found at a big box stores and are your go-to for last minute birthday gifts!
- Calendar of local toy-related events
- Toy buying guide by age, including a section for children with disabilities
This year, start shopping locally and supporting your neighborhood toy store. If you don’t know the nearest location, visit the YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org site and plan to kick off your holiday shopping during the 3rd annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Saturday, November 10 to rediscover the woohoo factor!
I am an ASTRA Ambassador and am compensated for this post however, all opinions are my own.