Awesome Book or Toy Shop
Winner: Top Ten Toys
You won’t find the latest name-brand, must-have toy of the season at Top Ten Toys. Something else you won’t find? Toy guns. Commercialism and violence are replaced by old-fashioned delights, such as puppets and train sets, at this longtime favorite and multiyear Golden Teddy winner. Kids and parents love the store’s broad selection of thoughtfully curated toys and books that promote learning and creativity. This local establishment also offers playtimes and story times, a free create-your-own-gift-wrap area, toddler play area and a friendly staff with a mission to “keep healthy play alive.”
With locations in Kenmore and Redmond, Snapdoodle Toys is as beloved by parents as by kids. Besides offering a chance to explore educational and imaginative toys, Snapdoodle gives families around the Sound “Crafternoons” and drop-in art classes. And don’t worry about becoming parched while exploring; Snapdoodle offers a complimentary latte or cup of tea to shoppers, along with free gift wrapping.
When it comes to books, The Elliott Bay Book Company, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, is hard to beat. Kids might not care about the daily readings and author events, but they will love the children’s book section, which is larger than some bookstores and anchored by a castle worthy of childhood fantasy. Teens will appreciate the Elliott Bay Underground, the bookstore’s convention-breaking, teen-led young adult book group.
Third Place Books was founded in 1998 in Lake Forest Park with the intention to create a community around books and the ideas inside them. Twenty years later, the community has grown to include locations in Ravenna and Seward Park. In each location, Third Place has achieved its goal, offering a fun, comfortable and safe place for people of all ages to browse, relax, read, eat, laugh, play and talk.
Featuring a variety of unique educational toys for all ages, White Horse Toys, in Issaquah, is touted for its quirky charm and knowledgeable staff. “The space is really well-organized, which I think is important because toy stores can be really overwhelming,” says one reviewer. That’s especially true when you have more than 17,000 toys in a 3,000-square-foot space.