Some of the pickiest customers are kids, they have their own idea of what they want - be it an outfit, a toy or a new plush toy - but they often can't articulate exactly what they're after. Do yourself a favour, before you tear your hair out from frustration, hit these stores (retail and online) to check out what they have for the little ones.
RECOMMENDED: The best shops in Singapore
Whether you’re looking for a sequin birthday frock or a trendy t-shirt for your not quite teenage son, Cotton On Kids has a range of designs and sizes to cater. Sizes stocked start from as young as newborns (onesies, bodysuits; 2 for $30) to the more tween appropriate size of 9-14 in cool, graphic prints or cartoon motifs. There’s a dedicated Costume and Dress Up section – think cute animal cover-ups, tulle dresses and fairy wands – and a Stationary and Toy section to stock up on everything from pencil cases, play tents and plush stuffed toys.
Various outlets islandwide.
Best known for its adorable cheongsam and Mandarin-collared shirts, Elly is a local brand that offers its own designs as well as those from a wide range of international brands for ages up to 12 years old. The sheer variety at Elly ensures that there’s something for every child, from cheongsam with red firecracker dog prints ($65) to long-sleeved pyjamas emblazoned with bunnies, cars or sunflowers ($66.50). Aside from clothes, the store also has an assortment of plushies, books and toys that provide for your kid’s entertainment needs, too.
Named after the tall Sea Apple trees you see all over the island, this homegrown clothing brand makes fun and simple pieces for young ones up to the age of six. Each collection features original prints on durable organic cotton that suit both boys and girls. You’ll find colourful playsuits ($39), sunsuits ($42), jumpsuits (from $49) and even samfus ($69.90) ideal for everyday wear. The collections are cutely named, like ‘Flower Power' and ‘Puppy White', while the new Disney collaboration has cool graphic Mickeys and Minnies emblazoned across dresses, t-shirts and short-sleeved tops.
With three outlets in Singapore and more around the globe, Seed Heritage is your go-to stop for childrenswear. This accessible Australian brand caters to kids from their infancy to teenage years, with collections tailor-made for babies below two, children between one to ten, and teenagers up to 16. There are whimsical pieces like novelty animal jumpers ($42), and gingham dresses ($40) alongside high-quality basics more appropriate for the playground. Mums aren’t neglected, either. Seed Heritage offers a wide range of chic yet comfy outfits, shoes and accessories that’ll easily take you from the office or home to a romantic date night – sans the kids.
Founded by Singapore-based Aussie mama Emma Laue, her eponymous children’s fashion label is stocked with bright, floral pieces guaranteed to put a smile on your – and your kid’s – face. Influenced by the rich colours and patterns of the region, each piece is lightweight and breathable, making them perfect for our tropical climate. We love the vivid designs found on the Lily dress ($65) and the Piper romper ($41), both of which artfully blend pigments and stains. They’re also limited editions, so grab ’em before they’re all gone.
Bricks World carries all the basic building blocks your child needs, and, for the parents, collectible LEGO sets. The stores are as family-friendly as they come: there are interactive play areas for parents to build castles with their children and a custom-built fixture lined with cylindrical canisters – they’re filled with LEGO bricks and other elements shoppers can use to bring to life their designs and imaginations. The newest outlet, in Plaza Singapura, is home to Asia’s first Digibox, a 3D digital experience based on augmented reality where you can hold a LEGO set up to the box and watch the contents come to life.
If there’s an obscure Lego set you’re seeking, chances are you’ll find it at Secret Chamber. Aside from its extensive online stockist, there’s three outlets (Thomson Plaza, Holland Village, Parkway Parade) located across the island, making it convenient to stalk down that elusive piece – be it a Creator, Architecture, Duplo or special Lego Batman or Lego Themes set. The online site is regularly updated with new additions and on sale items (from 30-50 per cent) but if you’re looking for something really obscure, best to contact them directly.
It’s almost a relief that Lamkins Toys no longer has a physical store, it makes shopping there so much easier. The vast selection online includes every toy imaginable, from Thomas & Friends, Star Wars and Playmobil sets, Ball Houses, Baby Einstein models to Ride-On Toys in all shapes and sizes. A one-stop shop for all kiddy needs there’s regular online sales so it pays to sign up for their newsletter. For non-parents looking for gifts, they offer a baby shower bundle service, online gift vouchers and free shipping for orders over $60.
The Better Toy Store believes that all good toys share one common trait: the ability to engage and build, rather than fragment, a child’s attention span. With that in mind, this chain stocks a huge array of toys selected for their play value, functional design and impact on the environment.
There are toys for kids as young as three months all the way to teens, with a modest selection of collectibles and limited edition teddy bears for adults. Bestsellers include a dancing alligator pull-along from Plantoys ($28.90) for toddlers a year old, and an open-ended marble run system from Hubelino (from $69.90) for preschoolers to stoke their imagination.
Like its online store, Playhao’s brick-and-mortar outlet specialises in open-ended toys that children can experiment, discover and learn with. There are toys for most age groups: ride-ons for toddlers, role-play toys like dollhouses for older children, and even cognitive and creative toys – think drones, puzzles and construction sets – for pre-teens.
Playhao also carries a few rarer, high-tech gizmos, such as build-it-yourself remote-controlled cars and freeform building models kits (from $69.90) to get kids honing their design and architectural skills.
For the parents
Products from Aden+Anais, Fisher-Price, Little Tikes and Cheeky Bon Bon line the shelves of this boutique for new parents. You’ll find drool pads ($22.90), diaper-changing mats (from $16.90), wet bags (from $30), and even appliances for the bedroom, such as a BioCair Bioactive Anti HFMD Bundle ($262.80), which promises improved air quality in the bedroom. Better yet, though, is the LOLBaby Convertible Bed (from $539; cotton bed insert sold separately), which, as its name suggests, can be turned into a playard, play mat or playhouse – perfect for when you’re looking for a hands-free afternoon.
Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it among the 5,000 items that this online retailer carries. Bringing the children on holiday is made easy with the Mummy’s Helper Cushie Traveller ($16.14), a foldable padded potty that can be stashed in your diaper bag for messy emergencies. And if you’re on a longer trip, choose from one of the brand’s bottle carriers or cooler bags: the Unimom Cooler Bag ($34.30) comes with and holds up to five bottles. For everyday practicality, though, the ready-to-wear Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier ($71.90) is perfect for both mums and dads – and for the little one strapped safe and snug.
With a name that means ‘baby doll’ in Russian, you’ll find no shortage of infant products on this online store, which stocks brands such as Capella Strollers, Milkmakers, Baby Bjorn and Ju-Ju-Be. Pupsik is best for practical options for parents, such as the Pupsik Pouch Sling (from $36.72), Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station (from $36.60), and the Ergobaby Organic Baby Carrier ($183.20), which is made entirely from organic cotton. Make sure your young ’un avoids (literal) hard knocks, too, with safety gates and corner guards to babyproof your home, and car booster seats like a Recaro Young Sport HERO ($499).
Eco-friendly and all-natural baby products for the outdoors: that’s what Sunkiss Babies deals in. And it delivers, starting with the Bacoff nursery sanitising deodoriser ($12.90) – use it on strollers, high chairs and play areas – plus more from brands like Earth Mama Angel Baby, Skip Hop and Ergobaby. Keep junior’s toys in tow with the Ma Poupée Toy Strap ($9.90), which can be attached to a stroller or shopping cart, so there’s no need to worry about toys falling to the ground. The Lin and Leo leather diaper bag ($399) makes for an equally practical choice, and its looks belie its function. The bag’s designed to suit all manner of diaper-changing and baby-feeding needs, and comes with deep pockets for nappies, wipes, creams and bibs.