Kids’ Consignment Store
Winner: Hopscotch Consignment Boutique
You’re lovin’ Hopscotch Consignment Boutique, which opened recently in downtown Bellevue. The shop, a kids’ and maternity consignment store, features strollers, high chairs, swings, baby seats and more, in addition to children’s clothing in “excellent condition.” Says one Hopscotch enthusiast, “They are very clean and well organized, they only take gently used clothing and toys, and the prices are extremely reasonable. They have wonderful customer services, too, whether you are consigning or buying.” Clothing brands include Hanna Andersson, Burberry, Oilily, Petit Bateau, Mini Boden, Baby Lulu and others.
You like Childish Things for its “great selection,” “friendly staff” and the fact that “the store is always well stocked with great bargains in great shape.” The Seattle-based store offers a selection of gently used things for babies and children (preemie to size 8), maternity, new products and gifts.
Jack & Jill Consignment in Lynnwood sells clothing in sizes newborn through 12, maternity clothes, shoes, toys, books, puzzles and baby gear, along with other nursery items. After its sales, the store donates items to local organizations that support families in need. “Awesome prices, great selection, great staff,” says one reader.
Bumps and Babies Fair in Seattle is actually an event that’s held twice a year — winter and summer — and gives sellers a chance to peddle their wares. The fair offers clothes, toys, books, equipment and more, setting up a temporary “shop” in the North Seattle area. “Seasonal consignment sales are awesome, and this one is the best,” crows a fan. “Great deals, great moms. What’s not to love?” asks another.
Paron’s Closet, located in the Wallingford Center in Seattle, consigns and sells brand-new and gently used children’s clothing for ages newborn-12 years old, as well as maternity clothes. Items include shoes, carriers, hats and diaper bags. Look for its “great clothes” and “helpful and approachable staff.”
Winner: Top Ten Toys
Top Ten Toys tops your list. One voter says simply, “Just the coolest toy store in town!” Other Top Ten devotees rave about the store’s “huge” selection, variety and friendly staff, who, one reader notes, “know their stuff.” Says another, “Kids love to play on the train set!” Located in Greenwood (that’s its largest store) and Pacific Place in downtown Seattle, the popular spot is known for lots of classic, hands-on toys ― along with playthings many parents can call “educational.” The focus is on creativity and quality. What’s not to love?
Creative Mom Toys specializes in carrying a wide array of educational and developmental toys. The store also features book readings and other original events, such as last March’s “Ugly Doll Giveaway.” “They have toys and gifts you can’t find anywhere else,” says one reader.” “No junk!” says another.
Snapdoodle Toys in Kenmore offers a broad range of toys, games, arts and crafts, science kits, puzzles, dolls, trains and books from around the world. Not only that, it offers lattes and tea! Customers love the store’s play stations, events, birthday parties, and arts and craft classes. “The staff really enjoy toys and games, and offer great tips,” one fan enthuses. “Huge selection of diverse products you can’t find anywhere else.”
White Horse Toys in Issaquah carries more than 17,000 kid-friendly items in a bright, fun-filled setting that makes picking up a puzzle or two hard to resist. Its terrific mix of learning toys, cool crafts and smart science kits entice plenty of kids — and their parents. “I could spend hours in this store — and that’s without the kids,” says a voter. Another sums it all up: “Awesome selection!”
Winner: Teddi Yaeger
If her website is any indication, Teddi Yaeger of Teddi Yaeger Photography is one sensational photo prodigy. Portrait sessions take place at your home, in an outdoor location or at her studio space in Seattle’s SoDo district. Fans are effusive: “She captures the beauty in everyone.” “Excellent with kids, photojournalism at its best!” Yaegar defines her photo philosophy eloquently on her website: “Just a glance at a photograph and we are transported, not just to a sight but to a feeling we hoped we’d never forget. Photographs remember for us, much better than we could on our own.”
Heleyna Holmes Photography in Seattle specializes in outdoor natural-light photography and also does indoor portraits. “Fantastic with kids!” says one reader. “An absolute dream to work with,” exclaims another. Holmes says she loves capturing the “true essence of your child.”
Parents are crazy for Photos by Trina Gueck, an on-location, portrait photographer in the Seattle-Tacoma area. She specializes in custom portraits of newborns, babies, children, maternity and families. Says one reader, “Her pictures are beautiful, clean, clear and classic!”
Who among us hasn’t had a photo taken by Yuen Lui? The iconic Northwest photography studio has been around since 1947, and has 11 locations in Washington and Oregon, and one in California. Look for “quality photography,” “timeless portraits” and “special photo shoots — like the fairy portraits.”
Winner: Beach Comber Kids Cuts
Maybe it’s the fun playroom kids get to romp around in when they visit Beach Comber Kids Cuts on Phinney Avenue in Seattle. Or maybe it’s the chainsaw-carved sea creature they sit in while having their locks trimmed and styled by pros who use nontoxic products. Youngsters also love the huge selection of DVDs they get to watch ― yet another reason one customer says, “My kids never cry there!” Says another, “Online scheduling, plus you get to sit on a turtle!”
Bella and Max, located in Bothell’s Country Village, offers kids a movie and a seat in the Blue Angels Jet, Pink Cadillac or Black Cadillac. And after the cut? A ticket to ride the train around Country Village. “They always do a fabulous job,” says one fan. Another loves the train treat. Gushes another reader: “They have the best staff!”
The Salon at Kid’s Club in the University Village has a train table to entertain kids, murals on the walls, toy boxes and fire trucks for the little ones to sit in. Great for baby’s first haircut — you get a lock of hair tucked inside a keepsake card. Get ready for “fun, sparkly, yummy shampoos.”
Salon Cool in Ballard and Dooz in Bellevue Square tie for this spot. Salon Cool caters to babies, kids and teens, with styles so, well, cutting edge, that kids can exit (if they want) without the requisite blow-dry. “Great cuts, good prices, very friendly staff and quick!” says a client. Dooz offers kids parties with fun themes (princess, pop star, ballerina and more) and crazy-cool trendy services such as French braiding, glitter tattoos and hair extensions. “Only place I’ve been that does a better job than me and my hubby,” comments one reader.
Kid-Friendly Book Store
Winner: Mockingbird Books
Mockingbird Books, an independent children's bookstore, is a real oasis in a world of screens and gadgets. As active supporters of the Seattle-based Page Ahead organization, the folks at Mockingbird Books are dedicated champions of children’s literacy. Located in the historic Great Hall at Green Lake, the store is a “fun spot for kids,” with a “train table, puzzles, tons of books.” They also offer story time daily at 11 a.m. (except Sunday), youth and adult book groups, author and illustrator events, frequent buyer rewards, specialty book-ordering, and reading programs. Let the staff customize a reading plan for your child this summer with their recommendation service or simply browse the excellent selection. Although the focus is on the kids, Mockingbird carries a selection of thoughtfully selected titles for adult visitors.
Third Place Books, in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, features programs for kids, story times and author events. “This is where we first introduced our kids to books,” says a Lake Forest Park customer. “They could curl up on the floor and just browse. We’ve been buying their books here for 12 years!”
Barnes & Noble, with locations throughout the state, boasts kid-friendly environments in its children’s sections that make you want to plop down with a book and, well, read. Or read it to your child — which is what we see lots of folks do in these supersize stores. You’ll find “great kids’ selection and knowledgeable, helpful employees,” “comfortable places to sit with the kids,” and, according to an Olympia reader, “a little kid cave that kids love exploring.”
At the Secret Garden Books in Ballard, local authors get treated royally, and so do families, who visit often for wonderful story times and readings. This popular spot is considered a local treasure; it’s been around for 30 years. “Secret Garden’s the best,” says a fan. “No contest!” says another.
Kids’ Shoe Store
No kid should grow up in the Northwest without, at least once, hitting the pavement sporting new kicks and a big balloon from Nordies. Since the store is known both for quality and service and started out as a shoe store, it’s no surprise Nordstrom excels at selling shoes. They have the “best customer service and return policy ever!” says one ParentMap reader-voter to whom “quality shoes are very important.” Parents are particularly grateful for the “expert sizing” and “knowledgeable sales people.” If they are out of the size you need, they’ll ship it to you for free. The colorful aquariums make the trip worth it for the more reluctant shoe shoppers in your family — way better than the dentist office.
If you’re in the market for some “cool kicks, socks, and funky shoelaces” or “hip shoes for wee ones,” point your toes in the direction of The Sneakery. They sell shoes for kids and adults, and teens in between. With locations in West Seattle and Ballard, The Sneakery sits at the epicenter of in.
Beautiful shoes are good for the soul and Sole Food knows it. You “love all the high quality goods” and appreciate how the staff is so “helpful in finding shoes that fit the kids’ feet just right.” When you want to shop for yourself, don’t worry — Sole Food has “toys to keep the kids entertained.”
Stride Rite is a classic choice for quality and durability, and can especially help with the hard-to-fit foot. “They do a great job fitting my kid's rather wide feet,” shares one grateful voter. “Great selection and prices.”
Winner: Simple Cloth
ParentMap voters had quite a bit to say about such a simple concept. Simple Cloth has a store in Olympia and caters to the rest of their customer base through their website. Their diapers don’t need no stinkin’ pins, nor do they require dunking or plastic pants. They have “the best selection of cloth diapers and supplies, plus natural toys and gear” like soothers, carriers, bottles and swaddles. The “knowledgeable staff” is “always friendly and welcoming” and “are very willing to help troubleshoot and encourage this very environmentally friendly parenting choice.” The bottom line: “Good service, premium products and helpful employees.”
For stocking up on the basics, parents tell us they make like a baby and head on out to Babies “R”Us because it “has everything in one store.” Sleep-deprived new parents need this kind of one-stop-shop convenience at times, for sure. A national gift registry is a bonus for out-of-town relatives too.
On the other hand, Merry Go Round Children's Store in Bellevue has a “great unique selection” and “funky, fun and high-quality items.” They may not be a warehouse superstore, but they have a “great selection that ranges from luxury items down to the must-haves.” They also have a gift registry with online ordering.
Readers praise tottini for its “ultra-modern take on baby gear and furniture, “unique selection of funky, fun and high-quality items,” “best selection of modern furnishings, gear and decor,” and “wonderful, helpful staff.” The South Lake Union purveyor of cool kids’ gear and furniture offers a registry service and has a full-featured website.
Another local favorite is Village Maternity in University Village. They “always carry just what I'm looking for” including “hard-to-find items” and “organic choices” for mama and babe. The store also offers full nursing support, including pump and scale rentals.
When it comes to dolling up your wee ones, you go to Gymboree to find the “cutest kids clothes,” especially if you are looking for “quality material and detailing.” Voters are also drawn to the value of the products. Gymboree has a solid reputation for clothes that last and “good sale prices.” Parents love the benefits of the Gymboree Rewards program in which they earn one point for every $1 spent in the stores, on Gymboree.com and at the Gymboree Outlet.
Always on the leading edge, Bootyland Kids has been a Seattle fixture since 1995. Their products feature eco-conscious and ethically sourced clothing and toys with the “coolest selection” of “vintage and new.” One voter describes their wares as “locally made and eco-friendly clothing mixed with consignment.”
Perhaps a bit more mainstream and therefore good for basics, The Gap offers “great quality for the price” and “cute things for boys without a lot of characters” on them.
Readers also love Hanna Andersson in Bellevue and Seattle for their selection of product lines, their “good prices” and “great quality and adorable” styles.
Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack makes the cut with parents as well, for their excellent customer service and quality products.
And last, but not least, Unique Plus in Kirkland gets thumbs up for their organic and eco-friendly products, “ wonderful customer service” and selection of clothing, footwear, toys, décor, books, accessories and gear.
Kids’ Online Retail
Sometimes you just need to shop in your pajamas. Next time you need some online retail therapy, try one of these reader favorites: