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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Saturday Spot: Nucleus Toys and How to Pick a Great Toy Store…

October 18th, 2011 · 15 Comments

Believe it or not after countless kids and years of birthdays and parties and well general toy madness we settled on just a couple of toys that we love and that we actually buy. Honestly after decluttering forever we are down to the bare minimum of toys and even that is a whole lot more than enough. We have enough zoobs, duplo, lego… to last a lifetime. But we still like to give our kids a gift for their birthday and a classic wooden toy fits the bill. But it is not just about the toys – we could do all my shopping online, it is about the experience. We like shopping for a gift and we like visiting a good toy store from time to time and seeing something to save for or pop onto a wish list.

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And like most things to do with kids I have experienced enough good, bad, terrible, wonderful, horrible and delightful toys to know what I am looking for in a toy store… Nucleus Toys is a toy store we just love and adore and they have just opened a fabulous new store in Retreat… in the same center as The Reader’s Warehouse – two fabulous shops in the same center – how brilliant is that!!!
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Here you go Se7en + 1 ways to know that a toy store is a great one:

  1. The staff must be fabulous and friendly: Not just to me, even though I am paying, but to my kids who will be the ultimate recipients. Take a look…
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    These are the kind of folk I want to buy toys from!!!
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  3. A test kitchen for toys: Toys must be on display so that they can be tested and tried out by the potential players. Obviously not all the toys but I do expect an area where my kids can play and try things out. I understand that no shop owner wants their shop trashed by hoards of over zealous customers. I am suspicious of a toy shop where everything is packed away – I assume the toys are too flimsy to stand the test of kids.
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    In this respect there are definitely two types of store in the world: The kind where the “person in charge” sees eight children arrive in their store and rushes over to me and tells me that whatever my kids break I will be responsible for… or worse ignores me and tells my kids: “Don’t touch anything or mummy will have to pay.” My kids have a special blank look for that, it kind of says: “Who’s mummy?” Does this happen to people with one or two kids or is it an eight kid special? The other type of store is where they literally grab my kids interest as they enter and keep them totally engaged and happy and directed towards the toys that are available on the play table. Guess which kind of toy store I MUCH prefer!!! Guess which type of shop owner earns more from me!!!

  5. Toys must be displayed honestly: It is one thing to have rows of packed products and it is quite another to discover that a certain product doesn’t actually have any of the little bits and pieces displayed on the box. In other words get what you what you expect.
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  7. Shopkeepers must know and love their products: The person who is indifferent to their product is not going to get a sale from me!!! Clearly these gals love their toys – I could hardly distract them away from the marble run!!!
  8. In goes the marble…

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    Smile…

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    Now where did that marble go?

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  9. Games and Puzzles and little Bits and Pieces: Certain toys need to be complete, there is nothing worse than a game missing a piece or a puzzle without a corner… While I am all about testing out toys there are certain toys that are just not for testing!!! You want to get home to discover the whole collection in the original package.
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  11. The toys must be wonderful: Fun, robust and something that can be played without adult intervention and yet something I won’t mind playing with if I am invited to play…
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    Toys that transport the players to another world… appealing enough that when they walk past them they have to play with them.
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  13. Toys Must Be Enduring: In our house we have a wide age range of kids and toys have to withstand being played with by everyone. Not only that, the toy must have the sort of appeal that lasts… we just don’t have the space for everyone to have their own vast toy collection – all toys go into the “toy pool” and they have to last and last and last… they need too last the test of time of kids playing with them time after time, day after day, week after week. Toys need to last – longer than your average household appliance!!!
  14. And the se7en + 1 thing:

  15. Kid Friendly: I asked my kids what they wanted from a toy store… And this is what they are after: A store where the staff talk to them in a friendly way, where it is okay to touch some of the toys, a place where they can spend their own very limited funds…
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    So if you are looking for a great Toy Shop in Cape Town then pop over to Nucleus toys… where you can have a quick browse online and see all their great products.

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    Nucleus Toys did not pay me to say these fabulous things about them, I say them because I believe them to be true. We totally love this store.

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Tags: Cape Town · Saturday Spot · Shopping

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 KM // Oct 18, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I could go CRAZY in that store!!! I think my littles would love it too… heheheheheh… thanks for sharing!

  • 2 auntymuffin // Oct 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

    O my what wonderful toys! A kids’ paradise!

  • 3 se7en // Oct 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Hi KM, Your little guys would love it, one of those great spots that is so inviting you just want to hang out and play!!! I can imagine you would have a theme fest in there… and a spurt of inspiration would flow. Hope you have a great week!!!

  • 4 se7en // Oct 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Hi Aunty Muffin!!! YES it is a good spot… for getting lost in!!! Hope you have a great day!!!

  • 5 Cheryl // Oct 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I’m wracking my brain to try and remember if I’ve ever taken my three to a toy store where they’ve been warned not to touch. No. Other kinds of shops but not toy shops.

    I do love a toy shop with great toys, they can try them out and there is something inexpensive that they can buy with their money. That looks like a great toy shop. Lucky you!
    Cheryl´s last blog post ..Apple Jelly and Hornets

  • 6 Rikki // Oct 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    This does look like a wonderful toy store. Any chance they want to open a branch in the United States? Like in the middle of Arizona? My children and I would love it.

  • 7 se7en // Oct 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Oh Cheryl, I have to say toy shops in the UK loved us, totally loved us!!! Even museum sips loved us!!! And we loved them… but there are plenty of toy shops around here that go kind of green when they see my gang at the door and we never go back!!! Shame on them – we are their market!!! This one is a great find and we have been shopping there for years – they know my kids in and out – and it is pure shopping pleasure!!!

  • 8 se7en // Oct 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Rikki, I just discovered they are opening a store in Belville, which is another suburb in Cape Town – maybe you could move to Cape Town to do your shopping!!! Have a great day!!!

  • 9 Love and Lollipops // Oct 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    ooh I love these toys too!! I have been to a few of the exhibits out here in the Northern Suburbs – but a whole store – oh my! Did I read right…a store in Bellville…YIPEE!!

    Georgia :)
    Love and Lollipops´s last blog post ..West Coast National Park

  • 10 se7en // Oct 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Love and Lollipops… Here is the info you after: Nucleus Toys is opening a shop in the Northern Suburbs at the
    HIGH STREET VILLAGE Shopping Centre, Off Durban Road, Shop 1/6 next to Kids Emporium…. OPENING 7th November 2011
    Count the days!!! Enjoy it!!!

  • 11 Kathryn (Becoming you) // Oct 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    this is one of my faves too…. i just LOVE it and could spend (well do spend) most of my money here… my son’s bday is on sunday and i have managed to get granny and aunty/ cousins to buy the pirate ship! can’t wait. i hope he is as excited as me when he opens it!

  • 12 se7en // Oct 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Hay Kathryn, We also get grannies to join in – it works so well for us that everyone gets one birthday gift – and a good one!!! We have had the pirate ship a while and it has been a winner it gets lots of milage… especially storming over the seas of a crumpled duvet on an unmade bed!!! Birthdays, I am sure are more exciting for parents than the kids… Hope you have a fun celebration!!!

  • 13 Love and Lollipops // Nov 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you for the info! …they are on my doorstep…maybe that’s not a good thing…hee hee

    Georgia
    Love and Lollipops´s last blog post ..Honey Bunny Studio

  • 14 se7en // Nov 11, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Hi Georgia!!! Myself I am a bit glad they are not on my doorstep!!! And without a car I actually have to make a plan to get there!!! Hope you have fun visiting, tell them you saw them on our blog!!! Have a fun weekend!!!

  • 15 A Weekend of GiveAways: Se7en Discover Djeco... - se7en // Jan 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

    […] Did I mention that we were having a weekend of GiveAways over here… well here is the next one… be still my heart, I don’t know where I have been but I recently discovered Djeco crafty kits, art supplies, fridge magnets, puzzles… at one of our favourite toy stores. […]

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