I am an avid Amazon, Target, and Walmart shopper. I literally order almost everything from those sites and with the recent pandemic, so does almost everyone else in the country. You can’t beat the free two-day (sometimes next day) shipping and the convenience of being able to buy anything your heart desires instantly. But lately, it hasn’t always been the best option. We have occasionally seen price gauges, fake items claiming to be the real brand name products, and sometimes we’ve received the wrong order. Although, I’m sure these retailers are working very hard and doing their best given their recent circumstances of exponential online growth and higher demand, I think it’s good that we venture out and support other online toy retailers who may be hurting during this time, especially during this holiday season.
Thanks to my online toy search and suggestions from other Knoxville Moms contributors, I have discovered several websites that are very cool and unique, and also some that I have known about but had forgotten. Let me tell you; there are so many different websites from which you can buy toys. So, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can dig a little deeper.
Here is a short list of the most popular, unique, or forgotten about online toy websites:
- The Black Toy Store and The Brown Toy Box. Both of these websites have culturally curated toys from STEM learning, dolls, action figures, books, and even classroom décor. Whether you are a family of color or just looking to diversify your children’s toys or learning space, these two sites are good options. Puzzle Huddle is also a good site for diverse puzzles, apparel, pillows and throw blankets.
- Discount School Supply. Not only is this site great for teachers and homeschoolers, but it also offers a good selection of arts and crafts items, STEM, and learning toys. You can easily filter their items with your child’s age/grade.
- Etsy. This is one of the best sites from which to order toys that are custom made with one-of-kind craftsmanship. Also, if you aren’t into toy gifting this season, you can also find many perfect handmade gifts all while supporting a small business.
- Fat Brain Toys. This toy store has great educational and learning toys to help enhance brain development. They also are one of the few online toy stores with a flat shipping rate of $3.99.
- Lakeshore Learning. This is another great teacher/classroom resource that also offers great learning playsets, and building and science kits.
- Learning Resources. Here you’ll find more great learning through play toys and the ever so popular “Coding Critters.” It introduces kids to essential STEM and teaches kids coding concepts through different challenges found inside the activity book.
- Magic Cabin Toys. These toys specialize in providing a variety of open-ended, nature-inspired toys and crafts that nurture children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity. In a world of technology, they try to protect the simplicity and imaginative play.
- Tantrum. Feeling nostalgic? Tantrum toys are a mix of classic, mid-century style handmade toys, all curated within the theme of a lively, 1950’s old fashioned circus.
- Uncommon Goods. This shop offers very unique designs made by independent makers. They don’t only sell toys, so you can shop for yourself or others too!
- Zulily. I had forgotten about this one. This site is where everything is basically on sale! You can find some really great deals from toys to clothing and beauty.
Keep in mind that these retailers may not have the same quick turn-around shipping times as some of the bigger companies, so be prepared to order early if you do your Christmas shopping with them. Also, while some of these retailers may have items on Amazon, Target, or Walmart, you will find a better selection on their actual website. Make sure to price check as well; it’s possible that you can find the item you are looking for less on one of the bigger sites, but that’s not always the case. By checking the actual sites, you’ll have access to their sales, promos/deals and clearance items that you won’t see elsewhere.