Monday, April 22, 2013

The Toy Place at Bellevue Art and Frame

13131 NE 20th St. Bellevue, WA 98005
800 843-6348
Monday through Saturday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Sunday 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Overall grade: A
High Points: art classes for two and up, tons of toys to demo, complimentary coffee, clean restrooms, helpful staff
Low Points: small children's book section, adult merchandise accessible to small hands, does not carry some of the low-brow staples (crayola crayons for example)

     Have you been to The Toy Place yet?  I am guessing probably not.  It is tucked in a strip with all these tile stores and insurance places, so I would guess it does not attract many people's attention, but it should definitely be your next outing with your little one.
     I love going to independent toy stores.  Granted, I understand that once kids hit a certain age going to a toy store is pretty much like going to the everybody-have-a-temper-tantrum room, but Amani and I are not there yet, so independent toy stores are a excellent way to mix up our regular routine.  (Please note: I say independent toy stores.  Huge corporate toy stores can be useful for an in and out trip, but generally they are notably un-fun, and often can overwhelm me to the point of nausea, so I just avoid them.)
     But The Toy Place is so much more than a just a toy store. Not only does it have THREE TRAIN TABLES AND A TODDLER TRAMPOLINE AND A DOLLHOUSE for kids to play with, (I know, you are already putting on your shoes to go there, right?) but they have FREE drop in art classes on Fridays for children two and up.  Joined with Bellevue Art and Frame, the place has all kinds of art classes for kids and adults, and Lego Wednesdays once a month, and they host birthday parties, so when I say it is more than a toy store, I am not just using a clever turn of phrase: the place is like a big creativity bath.
     Or, if your child is like mine, surrounded by all this creativity and opportunity for expression, as well as just killer-amazing toys right at his or her disposal, your child can spend nearly the entire hour-and-a-half venture spinning on the toddler-sized office chair.  So it has that going for it as well.

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