Many locations throughout the Twin Cities host this popular toystore.
Creative Kidstuff is a locally designed, owned, and operated. They have locations in Edina, Maple Grove, Minneapolis (in the Linden Hills neighborhood), Wayzata, St. Louis Park, and St. Paul. They have even expanded to West Des Moines, Iowa.
We happened to be in the neighborhood of St. Paul’s Grand Avenue location, so we stopped in to check it out.
Grand Avenue is host to a variety of eclectic shops, and Creative Kidstuff fits right in. They have a wide variety of toys: From specialty toys (European designed toy cars and Papo figurines) to common toys (LEGOS and playmobile). They had a wide variety of toys. They are a small shop, so, of course, they are not going to have the same number of toys in stock as the big toy stores. But I was supremely impressed with the selection.
The store was divided into several areas. These included
- Trucks and cars
- LEGOs and Playmobile
- Outside toys like scooters. They even had special order playground equipment that reminded me of tinker toys.
- Trains–mostly Chuggington
- Collectable Figurines.
- Pretend play with a kitchen, cooking utensils, house cleaning supplies, gardening supplies, costumes
- Marbles. An entire display of marbles: large ones, small ones, shiny ones, transparent ones. How cool is that? Marbles. I don’t think I’ve seen marbles for years–if ever. By themselves anyway. I have seen them with the Klutz books, but for some reason that’s not the same.
- Pets–not stuffed animals. No, oh no. Supplies for your pets. For instance, there was a leather pouch that you could buy that made it possible to carry water for your dog when you go on a walk. And cat nip and such.
The store was spacious and colorful being well kept and orderly. Not once did I lose a child because even when I couldn’t see them, I could hear them. The oversized windows and cheery lighting made the whole store feel like Candyland.
Each divided section of the store had a play area of those toys to use. The pretend play area had a kitchen set with a gazillion food items and utensils. The outdoor area had a small set up for the kids to climb on with a slide. The train area had a train table.
There was a big table in the back that looked like it was used for whatever the guests wanted to use it for. A big white table just the height for your child. At least for my children!
My absolute favorite was the bathroom. The founders of Creative Kidstuff know kids. When I noticed that Sir was possibly needing to use the facilities, I asked a staff member where the bathroom was, and she stopped everything she was doing to let us in. Once Sir was done using the toilet and was washing his hands, I noticed a small handwritten note on the mirror that said, “Look up at the ceiling, turn off the lights, and what do you see?” So we did that. Sir was entranced. I convinced Storygirl to take a bathroom break, too, and showed her the ceiling in the dark when she was done. “ooooh, they’re stars!”
Parking on Grand Avenue can be tricky as mostly it’s street parking. However, honestly I did not experience what the parking was like or if they had their own small lot in the back as we had parked 4 blocks away earlier in the day and had walked. When it is January 9th and over 30 degrees without any wind in Minnesota, you take advantage of the beautiful weather and walk. Because in Minnesota during January, that feels like May! I can tell you that whenever we had to cross Grand Ave, we crossed at the corner. Every single time we did that, drivers stopped for us. I’m not exaggerating. They were so considerate. Part of that may have had to do that we were crossing at the crosswalk, so I would highly recommend obeying the traffic laws and being as considerate of the drivers as they are of pedestrians.
The tempting bins of random, miscellaneous toys was RIGHT at Squirt’s height. I chased him down on numerous occassions in order to replace items in the correct bins. That was pretty exhausting. And I know they do that on purpose so that the kids can enjoy them, but as a mama? That’s a hard one.