Monday, November 14, 2016

[No] Neighborhood Toy Store [Day] for My Kids

On Saturday, I took my little one to a local toy store for Neighborhood Toy Store Day. It was grandPopcorn was ready for us at the door. There were kids, primary colored wooded and plastic toys everywhere! The little one discovered a toy that she was absolutely enthralled with for 80% of 1.5 hour visit.  Moms were pushing around baskets full of toys that would be for the upcoming holidays. Dads chased curious toddlers. A red-faced three-year-old bawled her eyes out when she lost her mom for a few moments of confusion.

A clerk doing a toy demo described to me how she carefully put together and posed toys in the Calico Critters toy family and tree house--a product line I'd never encountered until this trip and apparently is a big thing! It was great for our family. Fortunately, we have access to transportation and the time to go outside of our neighborhood to have this memory.

Here's the thing, my kids, the ones who attend my school, don't have a toy store in their city. So when everyone else had Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Saturday, my kids did not. There are dollar stores and a few CVS stores that sell toys, but there's no legitimate toy store. Not one. In the entire city. Not one. I did the google search for "toy stores near me." Nothing. Nada. Every toy store that showed up, was outside of the city limits. The one that I thought was there is permanently closed.

Now, when I hear things like, "children in Detroit are just different. They're harder, colder, more grown up that children in even other urban areas," I have to wonder "what if lack of play and access something as simple as a toy store could make a huge difference in how we see our kids interact with one another?"

Maybe you remember growing up and going to a toy store to shop or just window-shop. It was a magical, fun, sometimes disappointing experience. Having to leave without something was the worst...or so I thought when I was younger. My mother has told me a story of us shopping in a toy store with me in the front of the cart while she slipped toys into the back without me knowing it. There was so much to see! Even then, the toy store was not in my own neighborhood or city. 

So, my question has become who will do it? Who will bring a toy store to my kids? Who will  help families give their children an experience at a local toy store? Who will help create memories of going to the toy store and seeing the aisle and aisles of primary colored plastic toys? 

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