You know about all the usual suspects – ELC (Paragon), Toys R Us (Forum), The Better Toy Store (Takashimaya) and the various toy shops in Tanglin Mall – but have you tried…
583 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6734 3610
This is run by Andrew who has been here for years. He is lovely and knows everything there is to know about toys, books and children’s games. If you are trying to find something specific, ask him as he can order it in sometimes. They sell all sorts of fun stuff but with a lot less tat than most toyshops out there. He is the only Galt stockist in Singapore. This is only important if you are trying to track down an elusive but utterly brilliant card paged colouring book which is an in- flight essential for your little one: fill up the pen with water and ‘colour’ all the pages in (multi coloured shapes and figures appear magically) and in 10 minutes it will have faded back to its original state of white…and you can do it all over again. Hours of fun and worth tracking down if you have a 3 year old. The shop is technically named as above, however, the majority of his signboard says Nurture Craft, so look out for this rather than Innovate Toy Centre which is in tiny letters.
Opening Times: 10.45am-7.45pm Mon-Sat; 11am-7pm Sun
ZERO TO HERO
Holland Village Shopping Centre (#02-26B)
211 Holland Avenue
T: (+65) 6466 0722
We love this toy shop. It’s small, quite basic and sells great books; but what we can’t get enough of is their Alex rag dolls. Made from shiny, wipe clean white fabric, they come with a set of washable felt tip pens and will keep little people quiet for hours. Once they have finished ‘styling’ them, just dip in to water, dry, and you are ready to go again. We can’t fly without it. Other varieties include a doodle poodle, pony or ted. Priced at $26.90. (Holland V SC can sometimes be a bit of a maze – just take the escalator up to the 2nd floor, turn left – away from Lims – and beyond the linen store you will find Zero to Hero, on the right hand side).
Opening Times: 10.30am-7pm daily
#01-183 Block 21 Ghim Moh Road
T: (+65) 9108 5418
This has a ridiculous name and a tricky sounding address, but it’s really very easy to find and sells masses of perfect goody bag fillers for small people (as well as some really rather decent knock-off handbags – brands include Cath Kidson, Longchamps and more – see listing under Buy Me For Her, Her Accessories for info). Park at Ghim Moh market and then walk down the left hand side of the market (as you are looking at it). There are a row of shops also to your left, all facing towards the wet market (there is a pizza place – actually quite good – an optician etc). AG is at the very end of this row with a blue awning. There are all the various ‘character’ rucksacks (Dora etc), pens, pads, puzzels, toys and more, at very reasonable prices, that 3-5 year olds will just adore. Go for lunch at Ghim Moh market afterwards (see Eat Me, Drink Me Local for Ghim Moh market hawker loves). They also sell cheap, but definitely passable, wall stickers that are perfect for livening up a child’s bedroom. Their grass/butterfly combo was $2.
Opening Times: 7.30am-6.30pm daily
Parkway Parade (#02-48/49/50)
80 Marine Parade
T: (+65) 6346 2057
Like a neighbourhood version of Toys R Us (could it sound any worse we hear you ask), yes, it’s death by plastic, BUT it gets extra points as it is smaller and better stocked, and therefore far less exhausting, and, here’s the clincher, cheaper. At the time of writing, there were great tricycles on offer at around $70 for kids aged 2-4 (reduced from around $110, so a good price even when not on offer) as well as a big selection of baby gear. There are a total of 10 stores in S’pore, mainly in neighbourhood/far out locations; Parkway is one of their more accessible shops. BTW: Parkway Parade is a real workhorse of a mall with bags of useful shops besides this one: pop in to Mothercare, Isetan (so-called Isetan Katong), Challenger for all things computer related and Cold Storage, and you’re all set.
Opening Times: 10.30am-9.30pm daily