Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA).

Sometimes I think that when my daughter and I visit our favorite neighborhood toy stores she must feel the same way I do when I walk into a local book store or unique boutique: welcomed, at ease and with an urge to just hang and “play” with all the books or items that feel were hand-selected just for me.

It’s no different with kids in neighborhood toy stores. They don’t get overwhelmed by tons of shiny and loud objects bouncing off the racks at them all at the same time. There are usually fewer toys, but with a better selection. Most of the neighborhood toy stores we frequent don’t have any well-known popular characters displayed, so children can really discover toys by the sheer enjoyment of what they are and what they can do with them.

I’m happy that these stores actually get to have a day to celebrate their awesomeness in providing unique toys and specialty brands that you can’t find at national chain stores — even many of the bilingual toys we love! The 4th annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day will be held this Saturday, November 9, 2013 to help kick off the holiday shopping season — yes, it’s here! Neighborhood Toy Store Day introduces families to the fun of shopping locally and celebrates each toy store’s commitment to the community. Participating stores will host local in-store events for families such as face painting, craft projects, live performances and special discounts.

We got to play with a few of the toys that are popular in many community stores, and also made the American Specialty Toy Retailer Association’s Best Toys for Kids list this year and these were two of our favorite, along with the Potholder PRO.

X-treme Sticker Maker Set by Faber-Castell

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We can’t get enough of this because the possibilities for getting creative with stickers are endless. It comes with various designs that kids can paint, but my daughter just loved scribbling her creations and sticking them all over the house.

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Of course, I had to create a SpanglishBaby sticker! Gotta love a toy that’s super easy to use, useful and enhances your child’s creativity.

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Rainbow Fairy Wings with Glitter by Douglas Cuddle Toy

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The most beautiful fairy wings ever. ¡En serio! Camila felt like a fairy, then like a butterfly, then like a fairy again over and over all day.

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They are so light and easy to put on that I can see why she wouldn’t take them off. These wings definitely allowed her imagination to soar.

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Don’t forget that to celebrate the fun of shopping for toys at the local toy store, ASTRA  kicked off the “I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store” campaign with a fabulous sweepstakes that ends on November 8th and includes a Grand Prize Vacation Package!  Thomas & Friends™ invites you on the family vacation of a lifetime at select all inclusive Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Log onto www.yourneighborhoodtoystore.org for the full details and to enter the sweepstakes.

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