of Gingerbread Toys, Nancy!
I started in the toy business with Gingerbread Playhouse in Skeena Mall in Terrace back in 1989!
Almost 30 years...it has flown by.
Back then, and still today, it was important to me to have good quality toys available, ones that wouldn't end up at the bottom of the toybox or in the landfill!
So much toy advertising is done where the toy is tied to TV shows/movies or corporate interests, and more money is invested in the advertising than in the quality of the toy. And it is my privilege today to work with others who believe in the same philosophy of "good" toys.
I have 2 sons, and was recently made a grandmother by the older one, Jim, when James V was born. Jim works in IT at Northern Health (the guy with the math and computer brain from day one). My daughter-in-law, Emma, is currently on mat leave from Exploration Place, where she has worked many years.
Tennis is our family sport, we all play, and my younger son, Kristian, is currently playing on the UBC team and working on his doctorate in Chemistry, after 4 years at Doane College in Nebraska. He has also "imported" a wonderful girlfriend in Cheyanna. We are also big hockey fans, enjoying the NHL, and support the Prince George Spruce Kings.
And my husband and I currently share our home with Bolty (cute and fast guinea
pig named for Usain Bolt) and Snoopy (adorable lop-eared black rabbit who is
very curious--snoopy-- and mischievous). So that may be why we always have
so many rabbits and rodents in our selection of stuffed animals in the store!
Favourite all time toy in the store:
Wooden trains (Brio, Thomas, Hape)
They are a great toy for boys and girls, for a wide age range and the building of the track grows young brains. Then the fun of "driving" the trains around begins! Every time you add a new piece or train, it's a whole new toy. And all practically indestructible, pass it on to the grandchildren and their children!
After a long break, the Gumdrop Button Blog is back!
This time of year, we're thinking about holidays--and travelling. And those long road trips! "Are We There Yet??"!! (which is one of the best travel games we've found, ask us for the handout with the variations on the basic game). Fun for adults too, but drivers, sorry, you'll have to keep your eyes on the road!
Of course, we have many toys in the store which help to pass the hours in the car, on the plane, and even ideas for burning off energy at rest stops or for rainy days at the cabin. And, see below for our list of fun games, tried, tested, and approved, FREE!, and no extra equipment required!
If you need anything for travel, stop by the store and our helpful staff will have plenty of suggestions. We also have a list of ideas you can take home, sometimes you can re-purpose what you already have.
Happy travels, happy 150th Canada!, until next time...
Nancy, Megan & staff
Games to Play in the Car
Endings: Pick a theme (e.g., animals). One person says a word in the category and the next person says another word beginning with the last letter of the previous word. For example, monkey-yak.
Alphabet Game: Can you think of a city, name, fruit, or colour that starts with each letter of the alphabet?
The "other" Alphabet Game: Find the letters A-Z in order on the signs or license plates. Anything goes as long as it's outside the vehicle. The first person to spot a letter gets to use it. Change it up by doing number 0-9 after the letters. Or finding A-Z, 0-9, and then 9-0, Z-A. For a more advanced version if you're in an urban area, only letters starting a word can be used.
Travel Bingo: An adult can make up bingo "cards" with different pictures, words, numbers or letters for the kids to find as they drive. There's lots of free printable cards like these online too if you don't want to make your own!
Stories: One person starts a story and the next person adds a sentence. Use a story in a book and ask for nouns, verbs, etc... to replace the ones in the book.
Name that Tune: One person hums or sings a song. The person who guesses the tune hums next.
Jim Dandies: Pick a word and see how many rhyming words or sentences you can say.
License Plate Scrabble: Be the first to make a word out of the letters on a license plate. Add any letters you want but keep the letters on the license plate in the same order. For example, WLK=walk, FLD=flood.
'Tis the season for toy gift guides, and the more of them we see the more we wanted to share our favourite toys to give. It was no easy task, but our staff have each picked a few of their favourite things to give as gifts this Christmas.
Many gift guides you'll find are laden with "hot" toys that are heavily marketed and in our opinion, just not that great. We have high standards for toys and expect a lot of them. We put a lot of time and effort into sourcing the best toys that we believe will foster imagination and creativity, and deliver play value far beyond Christmas Day. Children learn through play and providing the proper tools to facilitate that learning is a privilege we take very seriously. While having a lot of fun of course!
Puzzles are always a great gift idea and Pastime puzzles are especially fun. They come in a variety of sizes and feature "whimsy" pieces in fun shapes in addition to traditional puzzle pieces. Puzzle Store from Ravensburger provides a way to keep puzzle pieces sorted and secure and partially completed puzzles intact. Folds flat for easy storage.
Bunnies by the Bay is a new line in the store that features absolutely beautiful plush toys and infant accessories like these adorable and incredibly soft bunny booties. We only wish they came in adult sizes.
Calico Critters are always a hit. Critters are poseable, and the Outdoor Sports Set has a variety of sports equipment for imaginative play. We love that Calico Critters are appropriate for a broad range of ages increasing the play value. The Stablemates Breyer Acres playset is another favourite with an awesome tractor and accessories for feeding and caring for the animals.
Stomp Rockets are always a popular gift to get kids outside. Send rockets soaring with just your body weight. There are stomp rockets for small children up to adults. We have a hard time keeping Foam Strike compound bows in stock they're so popular. Made of durable and safe high density foam they can soar up to 100 ft.
This Tournament Table Tennis game sits on top of a table to make any table into a ping pong table. Comes with paddles and balls, it's a perfect family gift to get everyone in on the action.
It may not be camping season outside but why not camp inside with the Pretend & Play Camp Set. Spark a child's imaginative side with this gift that is sure to please.
Nurture children's explorative and curious nature with our geode kits. There's a variety of different kits that will reveal the fascinating world of geology.
Tranquil Turtles are a great gift for the littlest ones on your Christmas list. Soft plush turtle projects calming wave patterns on the ceiling of a dark room. There's also a variety of soothing sounds and music to make bedtime a little more pleasant.
Pretend play is important to so many aspects of child development and Alex's Complete Kitchen Set is a great choice for children to cultivate pretend play.
Bath time should be fun! Alex's Tub Island provides a floating roadway and vehicles for an enriching bath time experience.
The Very Berry Tea Set is absolutely adorable and made of tin making it safe for younger children. Tea parties await!
Jellycat plush may just be the softest plush we've ever had in the store. The Pink Tootle Tortoise is extravagantly soft and very huggable making it an excellent comfort toy.
We love Playmobil! Incredibly detailed, high-quality playsets deliver value and years of use. The farm is filled with all kinds of animals and accessories and is sure to be a hit.
Hape's Gingerbread Baking Set is play food at its finest. Made from thick felt, gingerbread cookies can be rolled, cut out, and "baked".
Amaze 'n' Marbles might just be our favourite marble runs. Build a marble run from these special wooden blocks and see where the included marbles end up.
Duplo's Read & Build sets combine Duplo blocks with a storybook that compliments the building set. Perfect for the toddlers on your gift list.
Babies need toys too! The EarlyYears Owl Busy Buddy Blanket has lots of fun textures to explore and lots to chew on too.
The Giant Road Jigsaw Puzzle can be endlessly rearranged to provide a roadway for cars and trucks. Puzzle pieces interconnect in many different ways so there's no wrong way to put it together.
WOW toys are always a favourite. Their slogan is "toys that don't break their promises" and it's very true. These toys are built to last. They are all friction-powered and are easy for even the littlest hands to get moving.
Schleich is known for their detailed, hand-painted animals and what better place to store the animals than this wooden red barn. It folds open completely for easy access to animal stalls and a loft. It also comes with some animals and accessories.
There's so much more in store! Come visit us and find unique, quality toys that you won't find anywhere else.
September has arrived with a bang! We are in the midst of a couple of busy weeks renting band instruments with Sight & Sound to various schools around Prince George and also in the store. We also have band books and many accessories for the instruments in store.
Our staff have also had a busy summer and there are some big changes! We want to congratulate Stephanie on the birth of her healthy baby boy, Simon. We also want to wish Nycol the best as she pursues other endeavours starting her own daycare. Finally, we are excited to welcome another Stephanie to the Gingerbread crew. Stephanie shares our enthusiasm for amazing customer service and we can't wait to put her to work!
In just a few short weeks our new store catalogue will be arriving and we're busy getting all the finishing touches done. Kate and Megan had the pleasure of working with a couple of awesome children while constructing the cover. Thanks, Alden & Adira! If you haven't been receiving the catalogue and would like to, please call the store and we'll make sure you're added to the list.
This is also the time of year that our fall shipments come in and Christmas presents need to be thought about. If there are specific items that you are looking for or something you need to special order, now is the time to let us know to avoid disappointment.
Speaking of Christmas, did you know that we provide a gift service for corporate Christmas parties? Give us a list of children (with ages and genders) and a budget and we'll make sure that each child receives a unique gift. We'll even take care of the wrapping!
Keep watching this space for more updates!
It's been a busy couple of months packing up the Hart store and consolidating everything into the College Heights store. One of the really awesome things that's come out of the move is it's given us an opportunity to help out our community in ways we never expected.
When a young customer came in a couple of weeks ago and told us that his school was burning down we were shocked and like many people and businesses in our generous city we wanted to help but weren't sure how. We know how much of their own money teachers put into their classroom supplies and with the School of Education at UNBC were able to provide gift certificates for the teachers with a considerable discount to help them replenish their classroom supplies. As we were packing up we also realized that we had some surplus stock that would fit really nicely in some empty classrooms. The picture above shows a bit of what we were able to donate. We've got some fixtures and shelving headed their way too! The timing was perfect for us to be able to do this and it felt really good to be able to help the teachers and students in a practical way.
Also, when we started packing up we realized we had more Playmobil demos than we knew what to do with. So we decided to sell them and some extra fixtures and shelving with proceeds going to the Child Development Centre. Our customers were incredibly generous, many donating more than suggested and as a result we were able to drop off $1375!
Being able to do these kinds of things has really made us feel better about the difficult decision to leave the Hart. Thank you all for your patience and support during the somewhat chaotic move! See you in College Heights soon!
Change is never easy but sometimes difficult as it is, it becomes necessary to move forward. With that in mind we want to let all our customers know that we are closing the Hart location of Gingerbread Toys to focus our time and resources on the College Heights location. It has become apparent over the past couple of years that more and more of our customers are shopping on that side of town and by combining the two stores we believe we will be better able to serve you.
We want to thank our loyal Hart customers and if you haven't ventured up to College Heights yet, come visit! We've LOVED being part of the Hart community and that community has made the decision to move a difficult one.
In the next few weeks we will be having a big sale to help us condense from two stores to one. We'll be updating facebook with some awesome deals from the Hart store. To kick things off, everything in both stores will be at least 20% off!
We're looking forward to this new chapter, and hope to see all of you in College Heights soon :)
With only two weeks until Christmas it's getting to that time of year when panic starts to set in! Don't worry, we've got you covered with lots of gift ideas to fit any budget.
Gifts under $20
Kanoodle is one of our staff favourites! Different levels of difficulty in both 2D puzzles and 3D challenges. Easy to play, difficult to master, lots of fun! ($17.99)
Engraving Art is simple to do and a fantastic price, too ($7.99). Comes with pre-printed engraving boards, a scraping tool and a practice sheet (Ages 8+).
Pump rockets are tons of fun! Launch the foam rockets up to 150 feet! Great indoors or out. We also have replacement rockets if you happen to lose yours ($15.99).
Gifts under $50
Bath toys are always sure to please. Alex makes some of the best bath toys around. We especially like the Tub Tunes instruments ($9.99-$29.99).
These terrariums are guaranteed to grow and feature some of the coolest (and strangest!) plants around. Micro terrariums are perfect stocking stuffers ($4.99), larger terrariums ($14.99 and up) make a great gift for anyone interested in the weird and wonderful world of plants.
Hama beads facilitate creative play at its finest. Kits include pegboards, beads, and ironing paper to melt the beads together. The possibilities are endless! ($4.99 and up)
It's acceptable to play with your food when you're using it as ammo! Marshmallow shooters come in a variety of sizes and styles, using both large and mini marshmallows as ammunition. Kids (and adults) will have a blast with these!
(15.99 and up)
The one and only, original DoodleArt. Set of four minis or the classic large size ($24.99).
These shopping baskets are packed with some fantastic play food. Lots of different baskets to choose from ($29.99).
Wedgits are an amazing construction toy unlike anything else on the market. Wee Wedgits are soft and have slightly larger pieces for the littlest builders (1 year and up) or the regular size is great for older kids (3 years and up). ($19.99-$49.99)
Raggedy Ann & Andy have lost none of their charm and are ready to endear themselves to a new generation ($15.99-$49.99).
Gifts under $100
Pogo sticks will always be a great choice for an active gift. Two sizes to ensure optimal hopping fun! ($59.99-$79.99)
Lite Hawk R/C helicopters are easy to fly and fun for hours ($59.99). Flite School ($15.99) has everything you need to set up courses for time trials or to challenge your pilot skills.
Rody is the perfect companion for toddler bouncing fun ($74.99), Scramblebug is a foot to floor ride-on that has multi-directional wheels to scoot in any direction ($79.99), and Plasma Bikes are an awesome balance bike ($89.99). Don't forget about the ever popular marvel of physics Plasma Car! ($89.99)
Gifts over $100
Check out our extensive selection of Carrera slot car racing sets ($119.99-$179.99). Lots of different themes and styles to choose from and we also have extra cars, track, and other accessories too.
Alex's wooden magnetic artist easel has a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic white board on the other side ($169.99). Don't forget extra paper and paint!
Plan's wooden rocking horse is simply beautiful, made with Plan's trademark quality and attention to detail ($99.99). Kettler's Walk with Me Wagon is a perfect first wagon ($129.99).
We carry many HO & N scale train sets and all the accessories too ($84.99-$179.99)!
There's less than a month until Christmas and it's time to start thinking about stocking stuffers! We've compiled a list of our favourite stocking stuffers. All under $10, too!
Minifigures are a great stocking stuffer idea! Lego minifigures are always popular with Lego lovers of any age. Playmobil figures are separated into female and male figures, and Filly Princess figures have a sweet little pony and stickers in every package. Prices range from $2.99-$3.99.
We love Engraving Art but it's a tad big for most stockings. These mini Engraving Art kits are a fantastic price ($2.99), and there's a variety of different things to make. Scratch a keychain, some, stickers, a bookmark, or a door hanger with the enclosed engraving tool.
Beanie Boos and Beanie Ballz have been very popular all year and are perfect for stuffing stockings ($4.99).
Sticky Mosaics singles are easy and fun to do. They come in a wide range of themes like robots, trucks, animals, sports, and sparkly princesses. Perfect for the 4-7 year old on your list ($7.99).
For anyone! Adults too :)
These fluffy pens are girly, fun, and princesses of all ages will appreciate finding one in their stocking ($4.99-$5.99).
We also have a large selection of pretty Pink Poppy jewelry and hair accessories ($3.99-$9.99).
Perfect for the Lego fans on your list, Lego erasers, sharpeners ($5.99) and Star Wars Lego pens in a variety of characters ($9.99). Judging by the reactions in the store the adults are just as excited as the kids for these!
Who doesn't love to indulge their sweet tooth during the holidays? We have a large selection of old fashioned candy like giant lollipops and big jawbreakers. Fudge and Pop Rocks too! (.25-$3.99)
Filling the littlest ones' stocking is always difficult. It's hard to find things safe for babies that will fit in a stocking. Here's some of our favourite things to fill stockings for babies!
Lamaze has a variety of high contrast rattles and small toys safest for the littlest ones on your list. The Bend & Squeak Penguin is one of our very favourite things. Easy for small hands to grasp and get noise out of, and super cute, too! ($9.99)
These wooden toys will fit into a stocking perfectly. The mini bead mazes ($6.99) are pretty much endless entertainment, and the wooden snakes ($3.99) are seriously fun to play with and manipulate.
Tommy Toot ($9.99) is a perfect first whistle, easy to get sound out of and a pleasant low tone. How about a rubber duckie for the tub ($5.99)? Or our most popular teething toy a teether ball ($6.99)? Or maybe make some noise with animal jingle bells or bead shakers ($6.99-$9.99).
These Tolo First Friends ($10.99) click, squeak, and move. Chunky enough for small hands to easily manipulate and lots of fun!
Coming soon! Our holiday gift guide!
This week has been quite the week! We opened the Hart store on Monday morning to some of our ceiling drenched and falling down around us. We discovered just how disgusting wet ceiling tiles are, and spent the day closed and mopping up. Fortunately, the damage was minimal all things considered. It also resulted in our Chicken Little Sale (a few items with slightly soggy packaging are greatly reduced!).
Wednesday and Thursday we had our annual Invite Night. For us, Invite Night always seems like the "official" start to the Christmas season. Thursday in College Heights was crazy busy! It was somewhat chaotic, a lot of fun, and we very much appreciate our customers' patience!
Finally, we're having a silent auction for one of our Thomas train tables and a generous box of engines too (easily over $1000 value). Bidding closes at 5 p.m. on November 19th. Proceeds will be donated to the Child Development Centre. Phone bids are welcome too!
We are incredibly excited to FINALLY have a new website. There’s a lot going on around the store as we get ready for Christmas. Our annual Invitation Night is coming up next week (Nov. 7 in the Hart, Nov. 8 in College Heights) and you should have our new catalogue and your invitation in the mail. If you aren’t on our mailing list pop by either store for your invitation!
Our plan is to use this space to share with you some of the cool things we come across in the toy business. Not only do we stumble across some awesome products we have some pretty amazing customers that are a constant source of inspiration and we think it’s kind of selfish to keep it to ourselves.
I’ve noticed quite a few newcomers to Prince George coming into the store and if you’re finding us for the first time, Welcome! We hope to see you in the store soon!