Ever since becoming a mom, toys have been in the picture. Oh heck, who am I kidding? I’ve always loved toys ha! One of the things I really try to do is focus on buying toys at local toy stores and avoid the big box stores. I totally believe in buying the smaller shops—they need our support to keep up with the huge chains.

SAVE THE DATE: Coming up on November 9 is The American Specialty Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)‘s National Neighborhood Toy Store Day. Make it something to look forward to doing with your kids. Give them a reason to “be good” so they can get something special that day!

I am an ambassador for ASTRA and with that comes the responsibility to share the great word of this company. As an ambassador they sent me some great toys that can really be seen in specialty stores. These toys are unique and different from the “big dudes” in the toy box. Can I tell you how much fun my son has with the Zingo Sight Words game?!

When I first got the Zingo Sight Words game, from Thinkfun, I wasn’t exactly sure what the game was about. Albeit, my 5 year old jumped for joy when he saw the box! He has been playing Zingo at preschool for the past year, and now as a kindergarten kid, sight words are a must-know. We have played the daylights out of this game thus far. I LOVE the game Bingo (always have!), and this game is just like Bingo—but uses sight words instead of actual bingo letters and numbers. It’s so fun and so easy to waste some time on a rainy afternoon‐playing and learning.

I hope you will support ASTRA and their efforts to really give love to the local, neighborhood toy stores and the Neighborhood Toy Store Day on November 9. I am positive that you can find some of the Toy Insider Holiday picks at your local specialty store! Oh yeah&mdashand be sure to register to win their AWESOME I Heart My Neighborhood Toy Store giveaway going on now!