A mum who uses adventures and outings around town as an excuse to avoid the housework.
Published April 14th 2014
Toys can conjure up all sorts of feelings – excitement from kids, nostalgia for adults, or perhaps fear from parents who have left gift shopping until Christmas Eve. Despite the emotion, these age old educational playthings are here to stay. So Brisbane, it's time we worked together to find the best toy retailers in town.
Looking for toys for babies? Image by Petr Kratochvil / publicdomainpictures.net
Do you love the challenge of puzzles? Image by Hans Braxmeier / pixabay.com
Looking for a good old fashioned favourite toy? Image by Efraimstochter / pixabay.com
Most people are familiar with the two big chain toy stores, Mr Toys Toyworld and Toys R Us. Both have a huge range, regular catalogue specials and often seem to be the place to find obscure toys which have been discontinued. Specialist hobby supplies and highly sort after collectible toys can also be found at certain store locations, because there's plenty of grown up 'kids' who need toys too.
Department store retailers Big W, Kmart and Target are well-known for their annual toy sales. Many parents use this mid-year opportunity to layby toys that can be stored safely until Christmas. While their prices are competitive, and their range is pretty good, the quality of some cheaper brands is questionable. David Jones and Myer also stock a large range and have mid-year toy sales, although pricing seems to be a little higher.
While the larger stores are easy to find and offer the convenience of online purchases, there is rarely anything unique about their stock. Some time ago smaller toy stores seemed to be fading from Brisbane as online toy purchases increased. A few survived and there actually seems to be a resurgence of boutique kids shops which stock gorgeous, diverse, educational toys, with many also offering online purchase.
Here are some of Brisbane's favourite toy outlets:
Aaron's Outdoor Living (Strathpine) – Sure, it's not a toy store but it does stock a fantastic range of high quality cubby houses, forts and adventure play structures.
Billycart Store (Sandgate) – A delightful treasure trove of beautiful things for little people. They stock a great selection of unique toys including soft toys, affordable gifts and good old-fashioned favourites.
Bim Bam Boom (Graceville) – A store that offers well-sourced educational toys, art workshops and birthday parties.
Brisbane Pop Culture (Newstead) – An uber cool store offering comic, music, movie and TV collectibles. Look out for their experience offerings to such as a ride in the real Batmobile. Probably more for the 'kids' who are still young at heart.
Cocoon Petite Living (Paddington) – Gorgeous boutique toys, many which are handcrafted. The store also stocks designer kids, teens and maternity clothing, and home wares.
Crackerjack Toys (Hawthorne) – They offer quality unique toys at a reasonable price. They also offer school holiday workshops and craft activities.
Edsco (Kedron) – This place is a haven for teachers, so be warned – it is busiest during back-to-school time. You'll find heaps of educational toys, science, craft, teaching aids, charts, stickers and other useful "edu-things". Not a bad place to visit for end of year teacher gift ideas too.
Growing world (Fortitude Valley) – It's easy to lose hours browsing this enchanting store full of toys and books which aim to foster creativity and logical thinking.
Hobby One (Mt Gravatt East) – This is the ultimate place to visit for all your hobby craft, collectable, and remote controlled racing needs. The range is huge. I've found that the staff here are very knowledgeable and are only too happy to help.
House and Doll (Bulimba) – A charming store full of beautiful soft toys, dolls, dress-ups, puppets and accessories. Their range of miniatures for doll house collectors is just gorgeous with many unique offerings.
K and K Creative Toys (Indooroopilly & Enoggera) – This toy supplier has great quality toys which are built to last, engaging and educational. If you're looking for a sentimental favourite from childhood this is probably the place to find it. Having a toddler play area also makes it easier to shop with kids.
Mama's Home (Windsor) - A beautifully inspiring place stocking unique quality toys, gifts, fashion, home wares and accessories that have been carefully selected by the owner Amanda, who also happens to be a mum, and an educational and developmental psychologist. The store caters for babies to tweens and their parents. If you're stuck for gift ideas for age-appropriate toys, they have some great guides and suggestions.
Mind games (Brisbane CBD & Southport) – A great place for puzzles and challenging games. Adults often have more fun here than the kids.
Peppertown (Virginia) – A one-stop-shop for all children's outdoor adventure toys including swings, slides, forts, adventure playgrounds, sky forts, kayaks, canoes, trampolines and special needs equipment. Peppertown has been around for years so is well known as the place to go for unusual outdoor toys. They even provide support for installation and maintenance of playground products.
It's over to you now Brisbane. Where is your favourite toy shop and why? Do you go for old-fashioned nostalgia, convenience, range, price, educational benefit, customer service, adventure or whimsy? Please leave your comments below to share with Weekend Notes Readers.