Congratulations to Amy Chimino! Thanks to everyone who participated both here and via email. We’ll do another giveaway soon. Promise!
Add some sparkle to your next party! Our new glitter tattoos are made in the USA of safe, non-toxic materials and the glitter is so soft I couldn’t stop myself from playing with it! Plus, they last for up to 7 days so your child’s guests will have a lasting reminder of the fun they had celebrating with you.
If you’re celebrating with us, we can add glitter tattoos for $1.00/tattoo to your party package. We’ll do all the work and, as always, you only pay for what you actually use — so if three guests don’t want glitter, you don’t pay for tattoos for those guests. If you’re celebrating at home, we have lots of glitter tattoo kits for you to choose from.
And now the contest: We’re offering your choice of free glitter tattoos, an autograph pet or a dozen free balloons to the lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is post a comment here on our blog or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling us what your favorite party add-on is! We’ll select the winner at random on Friday, July 19th.
We are soooo excited to announce our newest project!
Our new space in Bridgeville will have both indoor and outdoor playgrounds! Imagine sitting on our covered, heated patio sipping coffee and surfing the web while your kids play in the snow, or sitting in the shade sipping ice tea while they play with water and bubbles. Not in the mood to sit outside? Never fear! We have amazing plans for the indoor play area too.
Here’s a picture of the cute little house that is soon to be our new store. Sadly, we have some construction to do before we can open but we’re hoping you and your kids will enjoy photos of the process. Right now the architect is busy drawing up wonderful plans. As soon as construction starts we’ll post pictures for our friends who love trucks and building projects.
Of course our current location will stay open while we build so you’ll always have a place to celebrate, play and shop. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section. We’ll do our best to keep what you love and add what you wish we had.
Many, many years ago, when our family was just the two of us, Ron was happy playing trombone and I was happy working as an early interventionist encouraging little ones to talk and play with others — in Los Angeles. Then Ely joined us and all I wanted to do was be at home with her so I left work to do just that — well, mostly, I also went back to school part time to get a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. What does that have to do with Toys2Try you ask? Well, a few years later we realized that Ron’s home-town of Pittsburgh, with it’s fantastic schools and family-friendly communities full of children was where we wanted to raise our two beautiful kids. But I didn’t want to go back to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Ron wanted to semi-retire from music so we reinvented ourselves when we moved here.
One of my favorite things about early intervention was finding the perfect toy and using it to spark a desire to communicate and play imaginatively. I especially enjoyed working with local pre-schools and day care centers to create wonderful environments that inspired kids to reach out and develop to their fullest potentials. Combining those two loves into a play space and toy store seemed like the perfect solution. I can shop for toys and modify the play space to keep it new and fun and I get to work with my family as we create what we hope is a great experience for lots of little Pittsburghers and their parents.
What about your name? E2 (E Squared) is a family joke. Our children are named Ethan and Elyana and we’ve called them E Squared since Ethan’s birth — “E” stands for energy and raising two takes so much more than raising one! So we wanted to include that in the name of our store both to honor our kids and to honor the energy all of you expend raising yours. Toys2Try is more self-explanatory since you can use our play-space to see which new toys your kids are inspired by before you buy them.
Moving here has been an amazing experience for our family. Beyond the beautiful neighborhoods, fantastic schools and welcoming community, we’ve been able to create a truly family-owned and operated business to share with all of you. Thank you so much for allowing us to do so with your enthusiastic support!
November 10th is the third annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day and our 4th birthday!
You know what a birthday is, of course, but what about Neighborhood Toy Store Day? Three years ago the American Specialty Toy and Retailing Association (ASTRA) created it to celebrate the unique brand of fun that independently owned toy stores bring to their communities. On Saturday we’ll join with thousands of stores across the county to thank our customers for letting us be a part of their lives. We love the look on your kids faces when they see our Bruder truck display, or fill their own tubes with Safari Limited animals — or play on the pirate ship for the first time! As an independent store, we have the freedom to buy the toys we like and avoid the ones that don’t meet our standards for fun, healthy play. Thank you for supporting us!
But what about the party, you ask! We’re celebrating with fun crafts and a great dance/pizza party led by Ashely. It all starts at 1:00 with $4.00/child playground entries and treasure boxes to make and fill with treats. At 5:00 we’ll have pizza and dancing ’till your kids are willing to go to bed without a fuss. We’ll end with a great cake, since it’s our fourth birthday too. Hope you can join us!
If you’ve looked for a baby toy recently, you’ve noticed that we have a wide selection of wooden teethers and rattles. I love these baby gifts. Not only are they bright and beautiful to look at — which stimulates baby’s growing brain — but they are interesting to touch and manipulate. Plus, I’ve seen babies that are grumpy and clearly teething instantly relax as soon as they start to chew on one.
“Are they safe” is the question I’m most often asked. I actually think that well-made wooden teethers are safer than their plastic counterparts. Most of our teethers come from Haba’s German plant. They are made from wood grown in renewable forests and colored with water-based, non-toxic paints. Our teethers not only meet US and European safety standards, but they pass food-quality tests as well. Plus, Haba subjects each product run to “destruction tests” where their designers actively try to break the toys to test for the possibility of choking hazards breaking off or sharp parts endangering kids.
Care and cleaning are also frequently asked questions. It’s true that you can’t put wooden teethers in the dishwasher, or soak them in the sink, but you can clean them. Haba recommends wiping them with a soft cloth and warm soapy water. At the store we use organic cleaners and paper towels and they come clean without damaging the finishes and without introducing toxins to your little ones.
Any other questions? We’re happy to answer them here!
When our oldest turned one we gave her a larger than recommended party. Against all advice, we invited both playgroups and tons of relatives — and she had a blast. Our daughter loved being the center of attention and she toddled up to each guest, showed off her pretty new birthday dress and chatted as much as anyone would listen. Our son, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with parties. He took one look at the friends and relatives gather to celebrate his first year on Earth, cried for a few minutes and then went to sleep — an act which he repeated at each party we took him to for the next year! Since then, we’ve hosted tons of first parties and we’ve learned a few things.
Keep it Simple
Even the most social child can easily become overwhelmed by lots of people and fuss. Our daughter may have reveled in walking from person-to-person but even she ignored the craft I put out, despite the fact that she usually loved crafts. At our parties bubbles usually work the best with one-year-olds since interested kids can come by, pop a few and move on at will. Play dough, dot art and stampers, available but not required, are also often welcome.
Keep it Small
Although our daughter enjoyed her big party, the happiest one-year-olds we’ve seen have been in small groups of very familiar kids with lots of doting adults. After all, grandma will usually give up the pink tea pot without a fuss while the neighbor kids might not.
Trust your Gut
No matter how well researched the studies are, no one knows your child like you do. If you feel like he will love a big party try it. You know how she responds to structure, sharing and schedules. Think about when he is at his happiest. If new things in the morning make her happy, try a morning party in a new place. On the other hand, he might be happiest with familiar surroundings after a good nap.
What about you? We’d love to hear about your experiences!
Welcome to our new blog! We can’t wait to share all of the great toy and party ideas we’ve found lately. How about make-your-own party favors? The guests at one of our recent parties had a blast decorating their own treasure boxes. Little did they know, once the party was over their boxes would be given back filled with candy and toys! Crafts plus a little magic made great memories and a super fun party!
What was the most fun you had at a recent kid’s party? Please share with us any questions or comments you may have and we’ll do our best to answer them here.