Kids + Toys (Educational + Fun) = Future Innovators

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Turner Toys & Hobbies Retail StoreTurner Toys & Hobbies has a new retail store!

We took a big step from being an online store to opening a retail store at the Essex Outlets in Essex, Vermont.  Turner Toys & Hobbies started as an e-commerce store way back in 1998 – practically before the internet was invented!

Educational Toys

We’ve always carried quality, educational toys such as:

  • Science kits from Thames & Kosmos
  • Estes Model Rockets
  • Brain Teaser Puzzles
  • Made in America toys

New Toys

We’ve expanded our offerings to include:

  • Dolls
    • Groovy Girls, Lottie Dolls, Adora Baby Dolls and Haba Dolls.
  • Stuffed animals
  • Baby & Toddler Toys
    • teethers, bath toys, pegging toys, building blocks, musical instruments and more
  • Arts & Crafts
    • Kits from Klutz and kits such as “Paint Your Own Bowls” and “String Art” along with coloring books and art supplies
  • Outdoor Toys
    • Stomp Rockets, Frisbees, Boomerangs and Planes
  • Games for the whole family
    • Everything from “first games” for toddlers to strategy games like Codenames, Pandemic and Settlers of Catan.

Event SpaceRubber Band Racer event at Turner Toys & Hobbies

We also have an event space.  We have Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and Vacation events. We just had a Rubber Band Racer event in the store.  Check out our event calendar to see what’s going on.

Contact Us

Turner Toys & Hobbies is your source for quality toys.  Now, we’re your local specialty toy shop!  Come to our Essex Outlet store for the perfect toy or gift.

Turner Toys & Hobbies , 21 Essex Way, Essex VT 05452  802-233-6102






This Christmas, before you buy toys, consider this:  What makes a good kid’s toy?  In a nutshell, one that your children will want to play with over and over again and that you can feel good about.  How to tell if it’s a good toy?  We’ve rounded up the best advice out there!

what makes a good kids toy


Uncle Goose Blocks & Wagon

Uncle Goose Blocks & Wagon

Great craftsmanship means the toys will last forever.  Think about the wooden trains or blocks that you had as a kid. You might even still have them!  Even years after you purchased them, parts will still fit together nicely and won’t warp.  If they are quality toys, they won’t break and won’t harm your child.  Perhaps not coincidentally, some of the best and safest toys out there are made in the USA or Europe, are made from environmentally friendly materials and are classic toys – no batteries or cheap plastic parts that will break.

What are some quality toy brands?  We like Haba, Uncle Goose, Maple Landmark, Mindware, Artterro, Guidecraft, Citiblocs, BeginAgain, Roy Toy, among others.


Is the toy safe?  Is it age appropriate?  If you need help figuring out what toy is appropriate by age, check out this toy guide from NAEYC.  Keep little ones away from small parts. Make sure that your toys are lead-free.  Toys that were made years ago may have been manufactured with lead paint. You can get a lead paint test kit just to be sure.

You won’t have any problems with natural wooden toys like these from Haba.  Any fabric toys need to be labeled as flame-resistant or flame-retardant. Art materials should be non-toxic. Look for water-based stains and dyes.  Sign up to receive product recalls with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

What are they made of?

  • Plastic is easy to clean, but it can break.
  • Wood lasts forever and can be wiped down.
  • Wooden toys are aesthetically pleasing to many senses:  visual and tactile (sometimes they even smell good like Roy Toy’s log cabin pine building sets!).
  • Batteries die – usually when you most need them!  Plus, battery-powered toys aren’t recommended for kids younger than 8 years.
  • Are the materials environmentally or socially-responsible?
  • Where are the toys made? Look for wooden toys made from sustainably-grown trees.


The best toys are simple, classic and nurture open-ended play.   Some of these you can buy; others are lying around the house or outside.  Think: wooden blocks, boxes, twigs, clothes or fabric to play dress-up, art materials.  You can get wooden unit blocks from Guidecraft or plank blocks from CitiblocsWooden train sets are always great. Kids of all ages can play with these.

Fun Factor & Play Value

Now we’re getting to the fun stuff.

  • Does the toy promote creative thinking, skill development, or a new concept?
  • Can you play with the toy in different ways?
  • Is the toy developmentally appropriate for your child?
  • Will your child want to play with it over and over again?
  • Is it easy for kids to figure out and/or are there clear directions on the packaging so you can help them, if needed?

Parent’s Choice Foundation also has a nice list of things to look for in a good toy.

We’re biased at Turner Toys & Hobbies because we specialize in great toys that your children will love to play with over and over again.  Toys that are high quality, safe, well-made, basic, educational and fun!

What do you think makes a good toy?


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