Yes, Virginia, it’s that time of year when you have expend mental energy figuring out what holiday presents to bestow upon your ungrateful children and your even worse nieces and nephews. Lucky for you, there are a bevy of wonderful shops in town stocked full of amazing toys, gadgets, books, and puzzles that will hopefully make those tiny terrors a little less awful. The toughest decision is figuring out where to spend your cash. With apologies to the many places we didn’t have room to highlight, here are your best bets to find perfect gifts for the younger set.
You can never go wrong with Finnegan’s Toys & Games (820 SW Washington, Mon-Sat 10 am-6 pm, Sun 11 am-5 pm). This downtown shop opened its doors in 1977 and has become a local institution due to its ability to keep on top of toy trends as well as keeping their shelves filled with gewgaws and games that never get old. Plus they put a nice emphasis on educational toys, including geeky gifts for budding coders and tech-savvy preteens. And for those super nerdy older kids that are keeping the flames burning for role-playing and tabletop games (D&D, M:TG, Settlers of Catan, and whatnot), Guardian Games (345 SE Taylor, Mon-Sat 10 am-10 pm, Sun noon-8 pm) has shelves upon shelves of options.
For the industrious and hyper-creative youngsters in your life, visit SpielWerk (3808 N Williams, Mon-Sun 11 am-6 pm). Their core philosophy is to encourage unguided play. To that end they carry plenty of colorful costumes, stuffed animals, and dolls for a nice bit of make-believe as well as art supplies and craft kits. Surrounding those are a wealth of inviting toys and building sets that practically beg you to get your hands on them and start stacking, connecting, or creating.
While we generally encourage you to avoid chain stores and aren’t too keen on filling anyone’s homes with more plastic goods, we also love the hell out of LEGO. So we couldn’t write about toy shops without a mention of Bricks & Minifigs (3040 NE Sandy, Mon-Sat 10 am-6 pm, Sun noon-5 pm), the one-stop shop for all things interlocking. This is the place to stock up on new or used sets, or all the little bits and pieces that may have gone missing.