I decided to have a little more fun than usual with today's UBC Homes blog and what could be more fun than toys? As November prepares to cross over into its bottom half many households are getting their shopping lists ready for the holiday season. One of first things UBC area homeowners say they love about the community is the eclectic shopping mix that lines the streets going to and from UBC and Point Grey. West 10th, West Broadway, West 4th, and Dunbar make up a collective of boutique shops that can satisfy the most fickle. When it comes to children-centric stores you won't find a better place in Greater Vancouver to complete a holiday shopping checklist for the little one/s in your life. So for those of you getting a head start on your shopping I have provided my list of recommended children's toy stores near UBC:

1. Kaboodles Toy Store - 4449 West 10th Avenue

Kaboodles is everything you want from a neighborhood toy shop. They don't pack their shelves with the typical "as seen on TV" items you would find at a "big box" store. Instead they nurture your child's imagination and foster both fun and creativity with their collection of toys, arts, and crafts. The staff at Kaboodles actually loves kids and are very helpful. If you happen to stump them with a question about their inventory they are quick to hop on the phone and track down what you're looking for from one of their other stores located relatively near by. Visit www.kaboodlestoystore.com to learn more.

2. Kidsbooks - 3083 West Broadway

I know parents wouldn't be too happy with me if I didn't make sure to include something to encourage the gift of reading for their children which also equals quiet time around the home (sorry kids, don't blame me). But honestly, Kidsbooks on West Broadway is the BEST children's book store in the Lower Mainland. This colorful and expansive retail library is packed full of great reads for all ages - tots to teens. They also carry a selection of educational toys and stuffed animals and puppets. You can visit their store online at www.kidsbooks.ca but I definitely recommend arriving in person soon before the holiday season is in full swing.

3. Splash Toy Store - 4243 Dunbar Street

The main name of the game at Splash Toy Store on Dunbar Street is puzzles, building blocks (Playmobil, Lego, etc...), and games but they also carry the usual suspects of great toys often found at children's boutique shops. Splash is one of those places where you would feel comfortable dropping the kids off at while you go catch a movie, grab a latte, and come pick them up before heading home - but you know, don't actually do that. For more information on this Dunbar Street addition to the Best Toy Stores Near UBC list feel free to visit www.splashtoyshop.ca.

4. No Pirates Allowed - 2742 West 4th Avenue

No Pirates Allowed is known for their vast inventory of specialized brands of toys that encourage kids to put their thinking caps on while having loads of fun in the process. They carry top quality brands such as Djeco, Lilliputiens, Bruder, Hape, Plan, Think Fun and Calico among others you would never find in the WalMart toy department. Explore their website at www.nopiratesallowed.com for more information on this West 4th gem.

I hope I helped you get a head start on your holiday shopping. Stay tuned for future boutique store recommendations in the surrounding community, as again - this is one of the big benefits of buying a home near UBC. Not living here yet? Contact my UBC real estate office today and see what I mean.

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