I have to be honest, I am not a big fan of the large well-known toy stores full of the latest TV characters, electronics and gadgets which are often attached to a premium price tag. I am still occasionally forced to shop in these stores as my kids are huge fans of Paw Patrol and Moana, but personally I am a sucker for the traditional toys that make me reminisce about my own childhood. I prefer to buy the girls toys that allow their imaginations to run wild.
Sometimes I need a little inspiration and I find that the independent toy stores invest time in researching those toys that not only help a child’s development but are also fun to play with. I find that they offer some unique brands that you won’t find in your local toy superstore yet are still able to sell them at affordable prices. I love to support independent, traditional toy stores so with that I mind I bring you my Top 10 Independent online toy stores.
If you are searching for a gift and have left it a little late then check out my Top 10 Toy Retailers that offer next day delivery.
1. Tickety Boo
What: I stumbled across this website recently and it has become my ‘go-to’ website for inspired traditional toys and gifts. It has a wonderful range of toys and gifts from a variety of different brands.
Best bit: Most products are discounted by a couple of quid so this website offers great value for money. I am a bit of a sucker for Djeco products so I always buy them here as they are slightly cheaper than elsewhere.
Worst bit: Whilst you are able to search by brand and price I often find the price search functionality doesn’t always work. Minor point though.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (4-6 days) under £10 £2.95, UK Standard Delivery (4-6 days) between £10-£40 £3.95, FREE UK Standard Delivery over £40, Premium Delivery (2-3 days) under £10 £4.95, Premium Delivery (2-3 days) between £10-£40 £5.95, Premium Delivery (2-3 days) over £40 £3.95, Express Delivery up to £40 £9.95, Express Delivery over £40 £6.95.
What: An award-winning website that sells fun toys that have an emphasis on learning and development. Brightminds is run by an ex-science teacher who felt stifled by the national curriculum and took matters into her own hands and opened a toy shop showcasing the best educational toys. Brightminds is the market leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) toys long before the acronym was invented!
Best bit: Excellent filtering functionality (age, price or learning skill) and they offer a 90-day, no-quibble, return guarantee.
Worst bit: None.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (based on weight) £2.95 to £4.95, 48 Hour Delivery, 24 Hour Delivery £9.95.
What: A traditional toy shop selling toys and games that you remember from your own childhood. Their guiding principal is to select toys that grandparents would want to buy for their grandchildren. If they’re anything like my children’s grandparents, this makes them rather picky indeed.
Best bit: Excellent filtering by age, price and brand. Good thorough product description.
Worst bit: None.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (3-5 days) £3.99, FREE UK Standard Delivery for orders over £75, Next Day Delivery £6.99.
What: Little Citizens Boutique specialise in unique, designer, artist-led toys and gifts. They spend time researching the toys that they sell in order to inspire unstructured play.
Best bit: I love their ethos. Little Citizens Boutique aim to be ‘a resource, a think tank, for empowering parents to be the guiding forces in a child’s life, not licensed characters’. I am also a big fan of their ‘15% off your first order’.
Worst bit: Poor filtering functionality makes it tricky to narrow down your search but the wonderful range of toys makes it well worth the effort.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (under 4lbs) free, Bulky Package (between 4lbs – 10lbs) £8, Extra Large Package (over 10lbs) £12, FREE Delivery over £100.
5. Daisy Daisy
What: Brighton based traditional toy shop for babies through to 10-year-olds. Daisy Daisy sells toys, fancy dress and room accessories. I popped into this store last summer and left two hours later armed with enough toys to take to birthday parties for the next twelve months.
Best bit: Excellent filters – brand, age, price and category make it easy to find that perfect gift.
Worst bit: None.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (2nd class) £3.95, UK Standard Delivery (1st class) £4.95, Next Working Day £6.95, FREE delivery over £49.99.
What: A clothing and gift store inspired by nature. Birdkids sell toys, party paraphernalia, tableware, room decor, wrapping paper, cards and art.
Best bit: Excellent filtering (price, age range, sex, brand, category and colour) to help narrow down your search. There are also detailed product descriptions which often help with the decision making process.
Worst bit: None.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery from £2.95 depending on weight, Next Working Day from £12 depending on weight, FREE delivery on orders over £69.
What: A unique children’s boutique selling toys, exclusive fashion, accessories, books, homeware and even Saltwater sandals (for parents too). Many of their clothes and accessories are handmade and sourced from smaller labels that haven’t made the broader market. It has a particularly good section entitled ‘ Pocket Money toys’ which lists toys under £5. Some great unique ideas.
Best bit: The selection of toys and accessories has a wonderful nostalgic feel that reminds me of my own childhood. Also, this year they have collaborated with Saltwater to create an exclusive tan and gold sandal which is on my birthday wish list.
Worst bit: Poor filtering functionality but the unique product available makes it worth the effort involved in searching. Some of the product descriptions are lacking in details (such as dimensions).
Delivery: Prices vary by weight but approximately UK Standard Delivery (2nd class) £3.99, Next Day delivery £10.
What: Another multi-award-winning site offering innovative toys, games and gifts that offer long lasting, good quality, one of a kind toys.
Best bit: A lot of the websites that I have listed here offer unique products, which they do, compared to the Toys’R’Us of the world. However, this retailer goes one step further and offers toys that I have not seen anywhere else.
Worst bit: It’s not cheap but you will find some unusual and stylish products.
Delivery: Delivery costs vary depending on weight 3-5 days (tracked or untracked), 2 Day Tracked £6.20, FREE delivery over £75.
What: A stalwart for many parents, Great Little Trading Company (GLTC) focuses on good looking classic wooden toys, smart toy storage solutions and well-designed children’s bedroom furniture. They also won Best Children’s Retailer in 2016.
Best bit: GLTC regularly offers discounts of between 10%-20%, usually with a minimum purchase.
Worst bit: Beautiful product but a bit pricey pre-discount.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (3 days) £5.75, Next Day Delivery £7.95, Name the Day Delivery £8.95.
What: A vast online shop selling products from over 5000 small creative businesses. Not just toys but everything from clothes, jewellery, homeware, art, food, drink and just about everything else including, I suspect, the kitchen sink.
Best bit: The huge range of unique personalised gifts available.
Worst bit: If you are buying multiple items from different sellers then delivery costs can mount up and packages may arrive at different times. Also, whilst there is a filter to help narrow your search, I sometimes find the sheer number of items a bit overwhelming.
Delivery: UK Standard Delivery (up to 6 days) up to £3.75 although some businesses ship for free, Tracked Express (next working day) £6.95, Saturday (next available Saturday) £10.95.
Over to you
I am always keen to support small independent businesses so if I have missed anyone out that you think deserves a mention in my Top 10 Independent Online toy stores then please comment below.