"The best toys are like unicorns. They include enough horse to seem real, but enough horn to become magical," proclaim Amber and Andy Ankowski, parenting speakers and authors of child development books.
Agreeing with the Ankowskis is Lindsay Petropoulos, owner of the Twirl Toy Shop in Pennington, who says the look of wonder in a child's eyes when they see a new toy or the just-right game never gets old. She also believes in the power of community and in fostering creativity, sparking imagination while having some good ole' fashioned fun.
"We think with the right tools, children will be able to build a better world," Lindsay says.
To that end, this shop at 10 N. Main St., offers a thoughtfully curated selection of quality, unique toys and specialty gifts for children. "All of our treasures are kid-approved by our own resident toy testers," adds Lindsay, a business professional and mother of three daughters.
For those looking for challenging toys, the store has a STEM loft full of games, robotics and building sets. Lindsay says they even have items for hard-to-please tweens. "I love having a large selection of active toys, ones that have double purposes, such as kids being active with them and not realizing that they're moving and getting some exercise."
She adds that many don't realize she carries the ever-popular LEGO items and kits.
"Our fidget toys, such as stress balls, spheres and spinners, make great stocking stuffers," Lindsay shares.
Giving back to the community, especially educational-driven groups, is an important component of how Lindsay does business. She says she works with regional preschools and elementary schools in one of two ways. First, she hosts what she calls Shopping Days, during which people purchase in-store items with a percentage of the proceeds provided to the associated school.
More recently, Lindsay started conducting pop-up Holiday Shops on-site at schools. She says people shop the products, and then a week later, she takes the selections back to the school, all wrapped and ready for gift giving. Again, Lindsay says she gives a percentage of the proceeds back to the school host.
Additionally, for donation requests, she confirms a priority is given to organizations serving children, education and literacy.
Music to shoppers' ears at this time of year is that Twirl Toy Shop purchases also are gift wrapped for free. They have gift cards of any denomination, with no expiration dates.
Twirl Toy Holiday Hours (open every day)
- Monday through Friday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sundays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.