There’s not much you can’t buy online these days, but when it comes to toys, there’s something to be said for browsing. A good toy store has been stocked by someone who has put thought and care into what goes on their shelves, and you’ll always find something special.
RECOMMENDED: Your guide to the summer school holidays.
Five awesome toy shops in Sydney
Monkey Puzzle stocks Moulin Roty shadow puppets and torches with projectors so kids can make up their own stories. Owner Pamela Blyton says, “We believe children learn through hands-on play, and toys should last longer than a season.” There is a wide selection of wooden toys, including sturdy options for toddlers, and more high-end products for older kids like the stunning Kolekto Oriento range of puzzles. Go home with: La Lampe des Ombres to tell your own fairy tale in the shadows ($19.95) or a Blackboard laptop ($23.95).
If you ever need to buy a volcano-making kit, this is the place to go. You will find weather watching kits, coding projects, super strength silly putty, magic sets and glowing crystals. While younger kids can do some projects with parents, Terrific Scientific is more suitable for primary-aged kids who can read. Owner Andrew Poole tries out all the products first, so he can guarantee they are fun and educational too. Go home with: Illusion Thinking Putty – Hypercoloured ($29.95) or a KidzLabs Volcano Making Kit ($26.95).
This is a small store packed with the good stuff. You’ll find Crafttastic Yarn Unicorn Kits and Mini Glitter Bowl making sets, plus old favourites like Djeco and Tiger Tribe. And while you may go to a toy store for toys, you can’t miss the book section at the back. Owners Anne-Maree and Tanya (at Randwick's store) are former teachers and it shows in the stock of picture books they keep in store. Go home with: Nighttime Fairies, A Bedtime Shadow Book ($20) or the Migoga Marble Run by Quercetti ($65).
If you’re struggling to get your kid off a screen, this is your shop. B. Amused have floor-to-ceiling shelves of games they say will entertain kids from 0-100. At the family-run business, staff are more than willing to find the right game for your family. You’ll find everything from Snap to various types of Rubik’s Cubes to a full range of the Orchard Toys board games for littlies. Go home with: StoryCubes, where the dice have pictures on them and you roll them to tell a story ($18.95) or Spot It! A snap-like game kids love ($24.95).
This toy store has been in the QVB for 32 years, which means owner Penny Randall has seen children grow and return with their own kids to the store. You can see why. You will definitely find something special here, whether it’s one of their beautiful dolls from across Europe (brands include Paola Reina and Llorens), or one of the limited edition Mohair Charlie teddy bears or a tea set featuring Peter Rabbit. Go home with: an Enchantmints Dragon Castle Music Box featuring castles and knights, with secret compartments and a spinning musical dragon when you open it ($69.95).