WFMW – Where to buy ‘real’ toys in New Zealand

February 12, 2008 at 11:40 pm 1 comment

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I do realise that the online shopping ‘Works for me Wednesday’ has been and gone, but here at Domestically Blissed we like to flog dead horses.

Over at the Not Quite Crunchy Parent was a wonderful list of where to buy ‘crunchy’ (an American word for alternative I think) toys in the US. It was a very cool list, but for those of us Downunder the shipping costs alone mean buying from the US is not a regular event.

So I’ve decided to blatantly copy the idea (with permission of course!) and post my own list of the best places I know to buy good quality ‘crunchy’ toys here. I was particularly motivated to do this after a brief wander through a ‘Toyworld’ or “Toys R Us” or whatever it was called. I  can honestly say there wasn’t one item that appealed to me. Everything was made in China, everything was plastic, and pretty much everything seemed to be branded with some “licenced” character be it Barbie, ActionMan or Bob the Builder. There was nothing of quality, nothing to really stimulate a child’s imagination.

 So as my little act of protest, here are some of my top picks. If you have any others, I would love to know!

Creative Toys

Creative Toys import wonderful education toys, many of which are featured in the famous Montessori ‘Michael Olaf’ catalogue. They also have a stand at the Titirangi Village Market, and they provide great advice on choosing toys.

Nature Baby

Nature Baby may be expensive, but it has the most gorgeous children’s things around. I particularly love the wooden animal shapes, the musical instruments, the play silks and the hug-a-planets – really I just want to buy the whole shop. Their online service is fantastic – I have never had a problem and have bought online from them often.

Fernbird

I love this site, not just for the toys. It does have some beautiful toys including a stunning selection of Steiner dolls and some great ‘quirky’ things I haven’t found elsewhere – like the cute ‘felt balls’.

Grandpa’s toys

This site has a wonderful range of quality, classical wooden toys. From lacing cheese to peg boards, rocking horses to dolls houses, this site has all the ‘classics’.

And although these shops don’t offer online shopping (yet!) they are my two favourite shops to visit ‘in real life’ so I had to mention them.

Born NZ

This is the store I would love to have opened myself. It has a wonderful range of ‘natural parenting’ products, but for me its the toys that really set the store apart. They are opening an ‘online’ store very soon apparently. If you are in Auckland its a ‘must visit’ store. The lovely staff will make you a cup of herbal tea, goo over your baby, and encourage you browse for hours.

Auckland Playcentre Shop

I saved the best till last. There is nothing flash or beautiful about this shop, which is effectively in the warehouse under the Playcentre Association head office, on a back street of industrial New Lynn. But the toys are incredible as you’ll see on the site. They have fantastic instruments, puzzles, blocks, art supplies, dolls, music cds, kid size carpentry and cooking equipment, outdoor equipment … the list goes on. If only the mainstream toy shops were like this!

 For more Works for Me Wednesdays check out http://www.donttryit.com/ – Shannon is in Africa at the moment so WFMW is ‘on location’.

 And please leave a comment, especially if you have any other sites I should add!

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Entry filed under: Domestrivia, Parenting.

A tough day AP in practice – an evening in progress

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  • […] Domestically Blissed wrote an interesting post today on WFMW – Where to buy ‘real’ toys in New ZealandHere’s a quick excerptCreative Toys import wonderful education toys, many of which are featured in the famous Montessori ‘M ichael Olaf’ catalogue…. […]

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