Expert Toy Choices

Holiday toy picks by three local toy experts.

There is no better feeling than the one that comes from seeing your child’s eyes light up when they open your gift to them on Christmas morning – because you’ve nailed it. The gift may have been a surprise or something they’ve asked for, but either way, it’s age-appropriate and something they adore. Many parents, however, draw a blank when the time comes to pick one out. With the help of three stellar toy stores, we offer this handy-dandy age-appropriate guide.  

Toys & Co., Cotswold

Top Picks by Sherry Stone, store manager. Stone has been a specialty toy manager for 28 years, the last 10 of which have been with Toys & Co. located at 242 South Sharon Amity Road. She joined the specialty toy business when her children were small and has loved the adventure. 


Magna-Tiles sets by Valech LLC 
Ages 3 and older 

OK to Wake Alarm Clock from Patch
Ages 18 months and older

Mini Kickboard Scooter by Kickboard USA
Ages 2-5 years



Counting Pogo Jumper by International Playthings
Ages 4-10 years

Panther’s Helmet and Jersey by Franklin
Ages 4-9 yrs.

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty by Crazy Aaron
Age 6 – 99 yrs.



Slapzi by Tenzi
Ages 8 and older

Selfie Mic by Moose Toys 
Ages 8+

Nightriders Zip Line LED 100 ft. by B4Adventures
Ages 6 – 14 yrs.

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books, Charlotte

Top Picks by co-owners Nancy Brislin and Susan Phillips. Phillips has been with Brilliant Sky Toys and Books for six years and owner for two. She loves toys, dogs and being a mom. Her son, Jett, keeps her young and in touch with all the latest trends and hip toys. Brislin opened Brilliant Sky Toys and Books in 2008 after working with nonprofits for almost 20 years. When she is not playing with toys, she is most likely laughing with her daughters and her sweet dog Millie.


AGES 0-4

The Original Baby Stella Doll by Manhattan Toy Co.
Ages 1 year and older

Magnetic Building Sets by Smart Max
Ages 3+
$39.99 – $119.99

10 Little Monkeys (and other Poke-a-dot Books) by Poke a Dot
Ages 2+


AGES 5-8

KEVA Planks by KEVA
Ages 4-12
$39.95 – $149.95

Factastic: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World (Book)
Ages 8+

Relaximals Stuffed Pillow Animals by Relaximals
All ages


AGES 9-12

V-Cubes by Verdes Innovations
Ages 9+
$14.99 – $49.99

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault, The Creatures and Plants of the Harry Potter Films by Jody Revenson
All Ages  

Swurfer Handcrafted Swingboards by Swurfer
Ages 9+

Barnes & Noble Bookseller, Birkdale Village

Top Picks by Victoria Meade, community business development manager. Meade has worked with Barnes & Noble for four years. When she’s not managing communications at the store, she works as a partner with local schools to ensure they have the necessary books needed in the classrooms. She also hosts fundraising events for local arts and literacy nonprofits and schools in the store.


AGES 1-4

Tree Top Adventure by Manhattan Toy Co.
Ages 1 year and older

Fisher Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar
Ages 3-6 years

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes By Kimberley & James Dean
Ages 0 – 4 yrs.


AGES 5-8

Strawbees Inventor Kit
Ages 5 and older

VEX Spider by Innovations First
Ages 8+

Double Down (Diary of A Wimpy Kid Series #11) By Jeff Kinney
Ages 8+


AGES 9-12

Utopia 360 3D Virtual Reality Headset by ReTrak
Ages 10+

Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Games by Pixel Press
Ages 8+

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay By J.K. Rowling
Ages 10+