For Christmas this year, I want to shop local as much as possible.
I find that locally owned toy stores have a much better selection of high-quality and educational toys. I also find that the smaller stores are less overwhelming when my children want to find a toy on their own. Local toy stores generally have a much friendlier atmosphere. Best of all, my money will go towards supporting local families. Shop on!
My kids love all the toys and books at the gift shop. Every time we visit the Shelburne Museum, they want to buy just about everything they see. The only way I can usually make it out of the store without spending all my money is by promising that I will do some Christmas shopping here. I like that the toys in the gift shop are educational and are often linked to some of the museum exhibits. As a bonus, there are also plenty of great gifts for adults, too. I like shopping for my children and adult family members all in one stop. Plus, I have my eye on some nice earrings for me! Not to mention that a museum membership makes a great gift for the entire family.
Also located in Shelburne, Jamie Two Coats Toy Shop is a small store stuffed completely full of wonderful toys. I found some great toys here for a long road trip. My son loves the Lego room and has a hard time choosing between Lego sets and Lego books. My daughter loves all the dolls. I love that all the toys meet my approval for quality. These toys will stand up to some hard loving from your children! Jamie Two Coats also offers gift wrapping, which is a great option for those last-minute presents you forgot to buy earlier!
Located at the Essex Outlets & Cinema, this toy store is focused on educational toys. They recently expanded their offerings and now include brands like Lego, Melissa & Doug, Haba, and more. They have everything from science kits to puzzles to craft kits. My kids particularly like the wide variety of board games that are available for all age levels. I enjoy the wide selection of classic toys, such as kites, wooden blocks, and tops. If you are short on time, they also have an extensive amount of toys to purchase online. To top off all that, Turner Toys & Hobbies also hosts a wide variety of events at their store, such as Tabletop Game Night.
Stop by this store in Jericho to both shop and get your clothing tailored. This is one time that your children will actually want to accompany you on your errands. My children could spend hours checking out all the Melissa & Doug toys alone. As usual, my son also gravitates towards the Legos while my daughter gets drawn in by the dolls and stuffed animals. Besides the toys, there are also a lot of other items available, such as candles, jewelry, and Willow Tree figurines. With balloons available and a free gift wrapping station, this store is a great last-minute stop on the way to a birthday party.
You don’t have to pay to enter the gift shop at ECHO. It’s sure to have something educational and fun for just about any age. Added bonus? If you’re an ECHO member, you get 10% off all of your purchases here. I love that it has some of the exact same things that you can find in their science center. They have the same boats you’ll find in the water play area of Champ Lane as well as the ever-popular kinetic sand, which is a favorite quiet activity in my house. If you’re not an ECHO member, now is a great time to purchase a family membership!
This is a consignment store in Williston. The main offering is gently-loved, high-quality children’s clothing, but you’ll find toys as well. Some of the toys are gently-loved and others are a carefully selected collection of handmade treasures from all over the world. I love the handmade wooden teethers for babies. This year, we’re getting my son a new musical instrument from Boho Baby, as there is a wonderful collection of handmade drums, maracas, and other instruments.
This toy store, located in the University Mall in South Burlington, is a favorite for many reasons. We love the fact that the staff is knowledgeable and welcoming and we really appreciate the wide range of ages this small store caters to. The games section is not to be missed.
This store has locations in Essex, Burlington, Rutland, and Chester. I love how thoughtfully this store has chosen what books to carry. I feel good about buying any of the books that my kids pick up at Phoenix Books. Besides the wonderful selection of books, the stores also carry some educational toys and games for children. This is a great store to shop for adults, too, with wide selections of books and other gifts. The stores also host all kinds of events, both for adults and children.
Home Port? For kids’ toys? I’m going to hate myself for sharing this gem, but the third floor of Home Port is a wonderland for kids’ toys. While you’re there, pick up the enameled cast iron dutch oven you’ve been wanting.
Outside Chittenden County:
If you’re in Montpelier, drop by Woodbury Mountain Toys. Their selection of games is sure to please any child. I am also impressed with their selection of old-fashioned wooden toys. There are just so many toys and games to explore here and all of them are high-quality items. My favorite part of this store is the warm, welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel at home.
Found in Stowe, this store offers a great mix of toys from both around the world and local sources. My kids love the wide selection of building toys. I appreciate that Once Upon a Time Toys carries building toys for every age so that younger children can avoid frustration and older children can avoid boredom. I love that you can find some unique items at this store, such as singing skirts. What little performer wouldn’t love that?
When I first heard about the Frozen Ogre, I immediately pictured Shrek on ice skates. Instead, this is a store in St. Albans that offers frozen yogurt, candy, games, toys, and hobby supplies. There is no need to shop on an empty stomach at this store! I love that this store has a downstairs game space that often hosts afterschool and evening gaming events.
As the name might suggest, this store sells your quintessential red Radio Flyer wagon. Located in Woodstock, you can find everything you need to keep active with brands like Hop Ball, Wheely Bug, and Rody in addition to Radio Flyer. Red Wagon Toy Company also allows you to shop online, with shipping worldwide. My son is in love with trucks and really enjoys the realistic features on Bruder vehicles, many of which are sold by Red Wagon. I appreciate that they are high-quality and safe European-made toys.
This store in downtown Rutland is a one-stop-shop; with toys, dancewear, clothing, and furnishing all in one place. There is a wide selection of Zutano and Magnificent Baby clothing. I know I personally love the ease of the magnetic closure on Magnificent Baby one-pieces, genius! There are plenty of other items for a new baby as well, like sheets, dishes, shoes, and soft toys. This is all in addition to educational toys and games for all ages, of course!
Located in Waterbury, the Tiny Acorn is home to toys, tales, and treasures. You’re guaranteed to find something for everyone here with six rooms filled with different options. The store includes games, puzzles, books, and craft supplies in addition to regular toys. There is also a small selection of clothing and shoes. A one-stop-shop!
This North Hero location is best known as a great place to buy a sandwich. You should do that too. But on the third floor, there are tons of books and toys which make this one of my favorite places to shop. Check it out, and get a BLT while you’re there!
This family-owned shop in the Mad River Valley has toys for all ages- from babies to adults. Looking for that special made-in-Vermont something? Look no further. The Collection is one of our favorite places to stop and do a little holiday shopping.