Shopping local is important for so many reasons. For those of you, like me, who live in a small community, the businesses you’re helping to grow belong to friends and neighbors. Plus, a thriving economy in my hometown means it is growing, developing neighborhoods and improving city services, instead of fading away, as so many other small towns have done. Local businesses create jobs and did you know that for every $100 spent in local, independently owned stores, $68 comes back to the community in the form of taxes, salaries and charitable contributions? Shopping local is an investment that pays huge, long-term dividends in supporting and developing your hometown. Local stores also help sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers. For me and my family, that’s the town square, a hub for shopping and business, as well as community events.
Another benefit of shopping independent toy stores is that you will often find a wider selection of unique, high-quality boutique and specialty products that aren’t typically stocked at big box stores. Since local businesses select their own product mix, they tend to offer a wider range of choices and products you might not find in other places. I reviewed two products that are perfect examples of unique and fun toys that the kids on your holiday list will love, but you might not see in a typical large chain store.
Tenzi is made by Carma Games and is a winner of ASTRA’s (American specialty toy Retailing Association) Best Toys for Kids 2012 award in the GamePlay/8+ category. I LOVE this game! It is designed for children seven and older, but it’s also been a great way to teach my grandchildren to recognize number sets that match the number symbol. After a few quick, rousing games, they immediately recognize what a set of six or four or any other set on a die, looks like and can call it out or match it to it’s number symbol. Games that are fun AND can teach are my idea of time well spent. This simple and fast-paced dice game can actually be the center of family fun, and appeal to all ages. The game consists of four sets of dice, each a different color. Each of four players selects their color and at the word, “Go!” begins rolling dice, saving back ones that match and then rolling the others again, to try to add to their collection of matches. The first player to have all ten of their dice rolled to the same number, is the winner. There are several other fun variations of play for this game, as well.
Loopdedoo had our nearly eleven-year-old daughter jumping up and down for joy and grinning from ear-to-ear. Just minutes after she pulled it from the box, she was creating fun twisted bracelets for herself and for her friends. Following the included instructions, she can even make belts and we have an idea of our own for making beautiful coasters! The creative possibilities are limitless and a toy that also fosters creativity and strengthens small motor skills is a great value. Loopdedoo comes with the easy-to-use spinning tool, 18 skeins of colorful embroidery floss and step-by-step picture instructions. It is recommended for children ages 8 and up. Like Tenzi, look for Loopdeedoo at independent toy stores, nationwide.
Yourneighborhoodtoystore.org is an online resource for parents interested in learning more about the latest toys on the market and where to find them. It’s an excellent resource to consult BEFORE doing birthday and holiday shopping! They describe their mission as striving to help parents discover the “woohoo factor” kids get from playing with today’s best toys! When you visit the website, you can locate a Neighborhood Toy Store Event, near you, so you won’t miss any of the fun in-store events, like craft projects, live performances, activities or special discounts. Celebrate community and fun at an independent toy store near you, this November 10th! To be sure you don’t miss out on any news or events, you can follow The Woohoo Factor on Facebook and on Twitter.
I received the Loopdeedoo and Tenzi, as examples of the unique products available when shopping local toy stores and in order to test them with my family, to gather information for this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own. #toystoreday #localtoystore #shoplocal