With a DS- and Pokemon-obsessed eight-year-old stepson, a two-year-old whose alter ego is Prince Philip the Knight and a newborn girl I’m looking forward to spoil, I’ve had a personal interest in finding good local Christmas gifts & activities for kiddies.
Here’s where I’ve been shopping for gifts for my kids here in New West. (Hint: Sapperton is the place to be!)
Pedagogy Toys, 424 East Columbia St.
If cartoon character-branded toys turn you off, look here for toys for your toddler to preteen. Pedagogy has loads of family games, including some for as young as three, science & craft kids for older kids, handmade Christmas Crackers and loads of stocking stuffer toys. I particularly like the WOW Toys line of friction-powered cars & trucks for toddlers (my son is enthralled with the fire truck, as you will read below ….) and the build-your-own marble run by Quadrilla. Pedagogy also carries Settlers of Catan, among other excellent games.
Unlike Toys-R-Us, Pedagogy is actually kid-friendly: there’s a play table in the back with a small selection of toys to keep small kids busy while you shop.
Owner Karen Smecher has a pack of small children at home, and so she is savvy to the travails of mothers shopping with toddlers. The first time I took my son there, I hadn’t cottoned on to the magic of the timer (i.e. a warning that when the timer on my phone goes, it’s time to leave) and, typically two, my sweet Wesley was on the verge of an all-out tantrum to protest being taken away from playing with Ernie the Fire Truck. Karen swooped in to the rescue with the offer of a ‘pocket penguin’ to take home. She strategically positioned herself and the bucket of tiny penguin figurines by the door, and after he chose his penguins (one for each hand, of course) he was so preoccupied with taking them in and out of his pockets that he didn’t protest at all at being ushered out the door. Now that’s service.
Next to Pedagogy, you’ll find Kids Kloset (420 East Columbia St.), a consignment store that also has new clothing and accessories for sale. I find Kids Kloset a bit crowded, but they have some adorable rain gear for toddlers and last time I was in, I was admiring the stylish diaper bags & lunch bags for Mom.
A few other gift ideas I had for kids in the Sapperton area:
- A new bike from Cap’s Bicycles
- Archery lessons from Boorman Archery
- For babies and new moms, all-natural diaper cream, breast pads & infant toys from Dimpleskins
- RC car or model kit from Team 1 Hobby
If you’re shopping for a little girl, you should mosey on over to 12th St. and check out Kiss A Frog (948 12th St.) too. While they carry toys and clothing suitable for both girls and boys, they have a stunning selection of girls’ party dresses and fancy accessories that will make you melt – not to mention light up your daughter’s eyes when she sees it! You can also find Melissa & Doug style wooden toys here, and some unusual kids’ things. This is where Santa has sourced the miniature accordion and wind-up dino Wesley will find under the tree Christmas Day, for example.
Clever Mink’s (711 Carnarvon), one of our sponsors, often has toys among their selection of eclectic gifts. Last year I bought a lovely wooden train puzzle/pull-toy for Wesley there.
Parents of Lego maniacs should also stop by Shamryn Hobbies (612 Carnarvon St.) for an impressive selection of Lego kits, model trains and (oddly) Webkinz. Plus, there’s a pre-Christmas sale on right now and everything in the store is 20-30% off.
- Custom toddler tutus from Tulles of the Trade (OMG the cuteness)
- One-of-a-kind handmade cloth dolls from Gingermelon
- Simple dresses that can be worn as tunics as your little girl grows and adorable little ties for boys by Kyla Richdale
If shopping online is more your style, Pinky & Company, run by local mom of two Alix Cote (also a sponsor of our blog), sells baby leggings, ironic T-shirts for toddlers, diaper bags for dads, ‘hooter hiders’ for nursing moms and more.