12 Nov Coolest toy stores in Manhattan
We love kids and kids love toys. So of course we know New York City’s best toy stores! These are our picks for the coolest toy stores in Manhattan.
Walk in and be immediately transported to a wonderland of mini woodland creatures, butterflies, and fairies. The owner of Playing Mantis, Imelda McCain, carefully selects handcrafted toys made from wood and recycled materials to inspire kids imagination without the distraction of modern battery-operated toys (a woman after our own heart!). Take a sneak toward the back and you’ll notice sturdy cardboard playhouses next to beautifully handcrafted medieval customs, all inviting kids to mold their own pretend worlds. Just around the corner you’ll catch a glance of the special art section, filled with eco-friendly play dohs, modeling beeswax, powdered milk paint, and anything else you can think of for a budding artist. The last thing they’ll be is bored (success Imelda – congrats!)
Playing Mantis $$$
32 N Moore St (b/t Hudson St & Varick St)
Kidding Around has been hailed not only the ‘Best toy store’ by New York magazine but also ‘Best Indie Toy Store’ (we love it just for that!). It lives up to its name with wooden toys, eco-friendly musical instruments and teacher created activity books. Never fear, Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine, and The Fairy Godmother are still present; can’t go too far without them, eh?
Not to miss: The impressive supply of bath toys!
Kidding Around $$
64 W 15th St (b/t Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave)
Babesta says that it caters to the trendier tot. The toy selection isn’t large by any means but we think it is just as swank as its stylish clothing section. That’s why you can buy locally made Brooklyn Candylab cars, T-Rex animal kits, and Bavarian gnome crayons here.
One thing we know for sure is that this isn’t your grandma’s toy shop!
66 W Broadway (b/t Murray St & Warren St )
The name is not deceitful. Dinosaur Hill has an incredible selection of dinosaur-themed toys, whether stuffed, plastic, wood, or in puzzle form. It also happens to have some excellent toys for inquisitive kids. As you walk in you’ll look up to see planet mobiles, inflatable Earths and an impressive telescope waiting for midnight explorers. Have a budding linguist on your hands? Check out their great wooden alphabet blocks in a number of different languages including Hebrew and Hindi.
Dinosaur Hill $$
306 E 9th St (b/t 1st Ave & 2nd Ave )
Doodle Doo’s may be a kid-friendly hair salon, complete with boat and taxi cab seats, but it landed on our list because of its dedicated space to NYC themed toys. Here you’ll be able to find NYPD cars and helicopters, FDNY fire trucks, and a whole other array of local transport vehicles. Plus cute subway t-shirts, knit metro-card pillows, and road rugs.
Doodle Doo’s $$$
11 Christopher St (b/t Greenwich Ave & Gay St)
Teich Toys and Books
Newly opened in June 2014, this family-run business created by husband and wife team Allison Teich McGowan and JJ McGowan is a must see. You find veggie-edible and beeswax crayons, and fashion designer kits, all brilliantly displayed on the cutest of train cars. The circus-themed store also emphasizes activities that can be done as a family which is why it’s one of our favorite picks. Look for fun game classics like Chinese checkers along with summer treats like a frozen yogurt maker.
Bonus? The shop is just across from the Bleecker Playground.
Teich Toys and Books $$$
573 Hudson St (b/t 11th St & Perry St)
My Little Sunshine
Can we say this boutique is an adorable one stop shop? Because it is. You can get your little one a spiffy-looking haircut in a vintage airplane all while you buy a denim overall jumpsuit and a Design Your Own Dolly or Shield kit. What’s not to love? Does your little one try snagging the hammer when you’re fixing the cupboard? No need to worry, there’s a mini tool kit here so they can feel like they’re helping and you can avoid the heart attack.
My Little Sunshine $$
177 9th Ave (b/t 21st St & 20th St)
Cynthia, the owner of Space Kiddets, told us that she’s been in business for over 35 years! There’s good reason for it. Cynthia carefully handpicks toys so you’ll be able to find dolls in traditional Chinese clothing, toys from Amsterdam, and plenty of eco-friendly options. While the shop is geared towards clothing, the smaller toy selection is largely able to hold its own.
Space Kiddets $$$
26 E 22nd St (b/t Broadway & 5th Ave)
Tucked away in Little Italy this small shop has some unique gifts for creative kids. There’s a placemat art book or a book of blank postcards waiting for your future Picasso. The mini Bob Dylans of the city can even snag an Indie Rock coloring book. For the younger crowd there are Fisher-Price Classics like the Chatter Telephone or record player available as well as some adorable knit animals (we spotted an especially charming baby elephant in overalls). Oh and if you’re wondering like we were, Piccolini is Italian for “little one”!
167 Mott St (b/t Broome St & Grand St )
MoMA Design Store
Looking for an especially unique toy or gift? Search no longer. The MoMA design store has plenty of rare toys and books for children on its lower floor. Some of our top picks are the double rainbow maker, the MoMA modern playhouse (picture a playhouse straight out of a David Hockney painting) and the Makey Makey Invention Kit (who knew you could use bananas as piano keys!). It also, quite conveniently, has a huge selection of interesting gifts for adults – they of course don’t have to be gifts (we won’t judge!).
MoMA Design Store $$$
81 Spring St (b/t Broadway & Crosby St)
If you find yourself looking for a variety of toys in lower Manhattan this should be a go-to. You can find remote control cars, kickballs, scooters, water balloons, art smocks, Legos, blocks to recreate the Empire State building, and plenty of toys for infants.
Boomerang Toys $$
119 W Broadway (b/t Reade St & Duane St)
Ebisu Gift Shop
It may be easy to pass by Ebisu while walking on the Upper East Side, but it’s definitely not to be missed! The little shop delivers a selection of cute, high quality Japanese plush toys along with back to school supplies like pencil cases, book bags, lunch boxes, and water bottles.
Ebisu Gift Shop $$
351 E 82 St (b/t 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
Upper East Side
The Children’s General Store
Free gift wrapping? Check. Party favor bags? Check. If you’re shopping for a birthday or preparing for a party, The Children’s General Store has all you need. Even if it’s your first trip, Michael and Tamika will make you feel right at home and help you with any of your shopping dilemmas.
The Children’s General Store $$
168 E 91st St (b/t Lexington Ave & 3rd Ave)
West Side Kids
While searching for the coolest toy stores in Manhattan, we came across West Side Kids. It has by far the largest amount of space dedicated to educational toys. Trying to encourage French? There’s a 50 phrase English-French toy for that. Having trouble with buttons and tying shoes? There’s a learning bear for that. Whether it’s going over colors, shapes, languages, mobility, or building, West Side Kids has you covered. On the other side of the store, you’ll find a lineup of different toys from knitting and jewelry kits to a music section complete with harmonicas and ukuleles.
West Side Kids $$$
498 Amsterdam Ave (b/t 84th St & 83rd St)
Upper West Side
A Time For Children
100% of the profits from A Time for Children support The Children’s Aid Society of New York. Yes, that’s right, all of the profits so you can give back to the less fortunate whilst treating others – one way to do your good deed!
If you’re searching for toys geared toward infants and babies, this is a great stop. An added benefit? You can create your own custom baby gift basket.
A Time For Children $$$
506 Amsterdam Ave (b/t 84th St & 85th St)
Upper West Side
It may be a chain store but this is no Toys “R” Us. When we stepped in it was calm, quiet, and completely organized. No flashing lights and outrageously loud toys to speak of. Giggle offers lots of larger toys in-store that usually have to be bought online. So no need to wait if you’re looking for an infant activity gym, kid-sized grand piano, rocking zebra horse, or a baby walker.
352 Amsterdam Ave (b/t 76th St & 77th St)
Upper West Side