Your Shop Local Toy Store Gift Guide

Did you know that according to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in local, independent stores, $68 returns to the community in the form of taxes, contributions and more!  This is higher than the $43 that returns when shopping national chains.....

Stores around the country are advertising low prices on the hottest toys, as well as perks for buying early.  What many haven't addressed, however, is how important your purchase could be to the local community.  If you haven't thought about where your dollars go in regards to how it helps your neighborhood, I invite you to take a moment to learn about Neighborhood Toy Store Day - now in it's 3rd year!

To help make the occasion special, local participating toy stores will be offering in-store events for families are designed to show you why shopping local can be good for your kids -- and the community!

Local toy stores have been in competition with the big guys for some time, and, while I love shopping my local big box store for many items, I think it's amazing when the mom and pops can stay in business.  In the downtown of Omaha, for example, there are a few small stores that cater to the crowd who are looking for unique toys that you might not find at the big box stores.  Here are some examples of toys that you might find at your neighborhood toy store (and they will make great presents for under the tree this year.)

ZOOB Toys by Infinitoy
Building fun for ages 8+

Rush Hour by ThinkFun

A problem-solving game we can ALL relate to!
Perplexus Twist by PlaSmart

This is the 2nd Perplexus we own; the kids LOVE them!
Snap Circuits Light by ELENCO

Science combined with the BEST kind of fun!
Rubik's The Void Puzzle
Just like the original -- only better!
The game of brainteasers for 1-4 people!
While I don't really think there are too many "bad" toys out there, I do think some toys have more merit than others.  I prefer to give my kids creative ways to play, open-ended toys, and play things that reinforce skills they can use later in life (like problem-solving and tactile skill-building.)  So many of these kinds of toys are available at neighborhood toy stores, making this year's celebration a key part of putting only the best gifts in stockings everywhere!

To learn more about the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) and the Neighborhood Toy Store Day 2012 (as well as find a participating store near you), visit the official website.  You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

* The toys mentioned in this guide were received to review.  Opinions are 100% my own.