For those of you who want to peruse and discover your own special something then start at Fat Brain Toys. They are a highly selective toy store and offer things appropriate for inviting play at all ages. Surfing their store is what I consider the online equivalent of Treasure Hunting...that inspired shopping experience of walking into a boutique like Into the Wind in Colorado or Walking Stick Toys in Montana (now closed).

Fat Brain Toys offers classic Preschool Engineering toys like the Tonka Trencher and MagnaTiles. But they are also leaders in innovation - inventing and manufacturing their own toys like Twigs, Squigz, and Joinks.

They also offer innovative, if controversial, ways to find just the right toy. In addition to browsing by category or interests or age, you can shop by gender. Toys are categorized for "1 year old boys," "2 year old girls" and so on. (There is plenty of overlap and I often find myself in the "boys" section because that is where I find the most mechanically interesting stuff.) And if you want to really customize a search for the perfect toy then their Gift Bot helps you narrow things down by Gender, Age, Minimum Price, Maximum Price, and (my favorite) Country of Origin (USA vs. Not China).


If you don't want to peruse so much then I have also made a custom Amazon store. The selection is smallish, growing and I only list items with which I have hands-on experience. There are ideas for Valentines, Stocking Stuffers, Party Favors, and Specially-designed sets that combine a book with toys. Take a sneak peak at it below (scroll side-to-side) or hop straight to the standalone site:

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