Work Hard, Play Harder: Toy Stores Near You

Mindful Toys/Therapy in a Bin ion Trousdale Drive in the Crieve Hall neighborhood.

Mindful Toys/Therapy in a Bin ion Trousdale Drive in the Crieve Hall neighborhood.

Sure, you could purchase toys at Target or order them online. But if you live in a town full of bubbly entrepreneurs passionate about supplying eco-friendly, imaginative, creative toys to children, why not see what they have to offer? In Nashville, you can make Christmas shopping and gift-buying errands about supporting local shops and teaching your kiddos to see value in community-based business-consumer relationships, and not just about nabbing this month's hottest toy before something more enticing hits the shelves. Besides, you won't find all the niftiest new Melissa & Doug toys at some giant retail store. Check out these toy stores around town and see what kind of whimsical, enriching and even educational toys and games you can find.



1705 Mallory Lane
Brentwood, TN 37027

002 Richard Jones Rd
Nashville, TN 37215

A nearby neighbor to The Perch and Sanctuary Yoga in Green Hills, this Michigan-based toy peddler opened a Nashville location in 2011. Brilliant Sky commits to supplying cognitively nourishing and fun toys in support of imaginative, enlightening play. Their selection includes not only toys but games, puzzles, crafts, books, athletic gizmos and puppets. Their philosophy centers around the notion that playing is not just handling a couple toys - it's pretending and role-playing, polishing motor skills, developing emotional and mental faculties, discovering, even cultivating interest in academic fields. That said, the diversity of Brilliant Sky's toy selection meets just about any need you may have.

Mon.-Sat. 9-8
Sun. 12-4

2. Arcade

2106 Acklen Ave
Nashville, TN 37212

Artsy, organic, upscale and inventive, Arcade is a children's store with no particular product line at its branding focus. Established by a mother of two with a penchant for antique furniture trading, this high-end children's goods store has clothes, bath soaps, skincare products for mom, and most importantly: beautiful toys. I'm talking little wearable cameras carved out of wood, block puzzles forming rainbows and Romanesque castles, craft kits, amazingly realistic stuffed animals, rubber bath toys shaped like cars and origami boats, thumb pianos, child-sized cooking sets that are fully functional. Every toy is sleek, artfully painted and impressive, which makes each one a striking addition to home decor as well as an elegant yet durable plaything for any child with an imagination.

Mon. 10-5
Tues.-Sat. 10-6
Sun. 10-4

3. Therapy in a Bin

4825 Trousdale Dr #218
Nashville, TN 37220

Initially launched in Canada by a go-getter and mother of two autistic children, this store's Music City location is only a year old and will soon be known as Mindful Toys. The inventory is organized by developmental stages, therapeutic needs and category of play, with an emphasis on providing toys and playful tools for children with autism, sensory or auditory processing disorders, dyslexia, speech and language difficulties, anxiety, social disorders, and depressive episodes. Kits with educational games and gadgets are available in spades for teachers, and the store has a sensory playroom open to the public during store hours. Brimming with whimsy, empathy and positive energy, Mindful Toys/Therapy in a Bin aims to bring joy and life to kiddos while making everyone who walks in the door feel part of a caring community.

Mon.-Fri. 10-6
Sat. 10-4

4. Phillips Toy Mart

5207 Hwy 70 S
Nashville, TN 37205

This classic toy shop, previously named Nashville's #1 Toy Store, is distinguished by its wide variety of goods, community involvement, and seven decades of operation here in town. Forever known in Nashville as the toy store that occasionally brings in a swarm of bunnies for in-store bunny-petting extravaganzas, Phillips Toy Mart stocks all the must-haves of a local toy store, from solar system sets to animal puppets. Reliable, friendly and nostalgic, Phillips offers a more diverse selection than Target or Walmart and sits serenely near the Belle Meade neighborhood, not far from Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. Supporting local business while getting an impressive toy haul for reasonable prices is possible here at Phillips.

Mon.-Sat. 9-5:30

5. Fairytales Bookstore

114 S 11th St
Nashville, TN 37206

Tucked away in East Nashville with The IDEA Hatchery and a local art gallery, this whimsical, wonderful toy store is an entrepreneurial endeavor inspired by the owner's first child. Fairytales Bookstore is deceptively named, as it offers more than just children's books (and a wide variety, at that). Wooden sailboats and dinosaurs, stuffed animals, books packaged with dress-up outfits, play food - all this place needs in order to be a kid's haven is an ice cream parlor next door. Oh wait. There is an ice cream parlor next door. As if the idyllic location and inventory isn't endearing and satisfying enough, Fairytales hosts puppet shows and story times for the community, and even offers in-store gift wrapping services. It's a sweet excursion for children and parents alike.

Mon. 12-6
Wed.-Fri. 12-6
Sat. 10-7
Sun. 11-6