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.
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!!!
Here you go Se7en + 1 ways to know that a toy store is a great one:
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!!
- 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.
- 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…
- 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!!!
- 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…
These are the kind of folk I want to buy toys from!!!
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!!!
Toys that transport the players to another world… appealing enough that when they walk past them they have to play with them.
And the se7en + 1 thing:
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.
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.