Our Christmas catalogues for 2011 have arrived in the store! This year, we did two separate catalogues — one with exclusively Melissa & Doug products (because we like them so much) and one from the Neighbourhood Toy Stores Association of Canada with an amazing assortment of cool stuff. We will be distributing them through the local newspaper, the Intelligencer, over the next few weeks (we do try to wait to distribute the catalogues until after Hallowe’en. I hate getting Christmas stuff before then, myself.) If you don’t get the newspaper, and you want a copy of either of the catalogues (or both!) be sure to stop by the store and pick one up.
The Neighbourhood Toy Stores catalogue (or NETS, as we like to call it) has a section at the front called “Latest & Greatest”, and this is where we put the toys that were too new to be put into the main body of the catalogue but way too neat to leave out. One of the star items this year is the Spooner Board, a 24-inch balance board that allows you to replicate all your fave board sports in any location, on any surface. Here’s a video from the company that shows it in action:
The NETS catalogue boasts lots of active play items this year. Some are old friends, like the Hop Balls from Ledraplastic (available in 45, 55, and 66 cm diameters). These are tough — we have had a Hop 45 inflated and ready to play for more than 20 years. Ledraplastic specializes in phthalate-free vinyl toys, which are made in Italy. Great value, and lots of energy-burning fun!
New for us this year is the Fropper, a bundle of bouncing fun from a German company called Okiedog. This cute little ride-on is designed for toddlers aged 18 months to 3 years, and its castor wheels, springy saddle, and easy folding for storage (that feature is for you, moms and dads) make it a big hit.
Left, the Fropper in its bouncable riding form, while at right you see it folded and ready for storage or transport.
New from Melissa & Doug this fall are the Wooden Block Play Sets, available in Farm, Town, and Castle versions. The blocks fit neatly together like a puzzle, in order to build the large components such as the barn, while the animals and other pieces are large and sturdy to foster creative and imaginative play.
Another creative staple is the height-adjustable wooden easel from Melissa & Doug. This sturdy standing easel will be the beginning of many an art masterpiece from your children; it is double-sided, with a dry-erase whiteboard on one side and a green chalkboard on the other, so two kids can paint or draw at one time. The easel also includes a locking paper-roll holder, a child-safe paper-cutter, and four easy-grip paper clips (an accessory kit is sold separately, which includes everything the budding artist needs to get going right out of the box — paints, paper roll, dry-erase marker, eraser, paint cups and lids, paintbrushes, and jumbo chalk).
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some retro items and some futuristic novelties featured in the new NETS catalogue.