With Toys R Us closing its doors, local independent toy stores are getting a new chance to lead the way when it comes to playthings, collectibles and games. Smaller toy stores offer a more personal shopping experience, with shelves featuring everything from the hottest trends to beloved classics, educational toys and more. There's no shortage of independent toy stores on Long Island. Here's a sampling of some unique options.
You should definitely drop by here if you're looking for what's currently hot, as they often get a hold of popular and trendy products. Watch for in-store and seasonally-themed events as well. Info: 360 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale; 516-484-0966.
Fun Stuff Toys
A good bet for what's new and hot, Fun Stuff Toys (3639 Merrick Rd., Seaford) has a friendly staff who hold playful demos at times. There are many seasonal and trendy toys for sale, as well as action figures, models, educational toys, riding scooters and mainstream items for most ages. More information: 516-409-8697; fstoys.com.
Stevenson's Toys and Games
With two locations in the Hamptons, you'll find some rare -- and expensive -- toys, including stuffed animals that cost hundreds of dollars, at Stevenson's Toys and Games (69 Jobs Lane, Southampton and 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton). However, not everything for sale is primed for those with big bucks, as seasonal items, retro toys, educational items, board games and mainstream playthings cost on average what such toys would cost in most shops. More information: Southampton (631-283-2111) and East Hampton (631-527-7222); stevensonstoys.com.
M.J. Beanz Toys
At M.J. Beanz Toys (345 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview) you'll find toys for children and tweens of the trendy and educational variety, as well as the traditional activity and coloring books, dolls, stuffed animals, puzzles and arts and crafts kits. There are also party favors and educational products. More information: 516-827-7700.
Seasonal gifts and trendy board games are the norm as are educational toys, dolls, action toys, cuddly stuffed animals and items for babies and toddlers at G. Willikers (22 Forest Ave., Locust Valley). Art tools and kits, outdoor riding toys and books are also mainstays. More information: 516-671-3335, gwillikersgifts.com.
At this store in the heart of Northport village, you'll find more than just toys from major manufacturers, but also handmade and specialty items for dolls and collectibles. Educational and science toys are available too, as are seasonal offerings. Info: 79 Main St., Northport; 631-261-7564, einsteinsatticnorthport.com.
Toys are the main option of this playful shop notable for the large "Gumby" statue that stands in front of its window, but stock also includes seasonal and lawn games, as well as party favors, collectibles, retro toys, baby playthings, books and candy. Info: 27 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay; 516-922-3900, funnibusiness.com.
Boardwalk Games has a little something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a gift for a child or a seasoned gamer, the store specializes in strategy games, jigsaw puzzles and chess sets. Boardwalk Games sells collectible versions of classic games. The store has a wide array of chess sets and variation chess games as well as a large selection of Monopoly sets. Info: 35 Creek Rd., Port Jefferson; 631-928-4263
Matty's Toy Stop
A family-owned operation, this local chain of stores has mainstream toys as well as educational items and playthings for babies. With tall rows of shelves filled with games, toys, books and puzzles, this store is a fun house for young kids. Locations and info: 19 Covert Ave., Floral Park, 516-358-4010; 1350 Peninsula Blvd., Hewlett, 516-295-2555; 2138 Merrick Mall, Merrick, 516-771-4209; 284 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, 516-634-0030; mattystoystop.com.
The store is full of educational toys, most of which don't require batteries. Toys include items for pre-schoolers, building kits, seasonal activities, puzzles and board games for all ages. Info: 44 Atlantic Ave., Oceanside; 516-792-3331
Goldsmith's Toys and Electronics
Recently reopened in a new space slightly down the block, Goldsmith's is still well known for its large collection of rubber ducks; it also carries plush toys, beach and bath toys, books, art supplies, kites, puzzles and more. Info: 128 Main St., Greenport; 631-477-0466
Learning Tower features mainstream toys, but also focuses on interesting board games, collectibles, figurines and building toys. Be sure and explore its puppet section, which includes a wide selection of well-crafted options that range from finger fun to hand dolls that work best with practiced manipulation. Info: 4747 Nesconset Hwy., Port Jefferson Station; 631-928-2040, learningtower.com.
Lakeshore Learning (2079 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park) may not be a traditional toy store but it carries hands-on learning materials. Customers can open any product to take a closer look before making a purchase, and the store hosts free events for kids every Saturday. Some things you'll find there: building sets, educational toys, science kits, math/reading games and art supplies. More information: 516-616-9360; lakeshorelearning.com.