In order to find unique and interesting gifts for kids and collectors alike you're going to have to shop outside of the box, so to speak. Atlanta has a number of independent toy stores and hobby shops that are sure to offer unique options that big box stores and chain stores will not. Below is a list of some of metro Atlanta's hidden gems for, well, hidden gems.
Blabla, 1189 Virginia Avenue, NE, Atlanta, Ga. 30306; 404-875-6496
Created by co-owners Susan Pritchett and Florence Wetterwald, Blabla focuses on handmade woven toys and accessories that are hard to find in the larger franchises. The Jacques the hippo doll ($46 and $56) is 100 percent cotton and handmade. The Red Riding Hood doll costume ($28) is perfect for your child's favorite 18-inch best friend.
Kaleidoscope Shop, 2148 Starfire Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30345; 678-937-2673
Co-founded by Jan and Bobby Boal, the store was opened in 2015 to better display their unique collection of kaleidoscopes, globes and other toys. The Star Wars windup C3PO doll ($24.95) is reminiscent of a time before kids needed wifi to entertain themselves.
Learning Express Toys of Atlanta, 4407 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, Ga. 30342; 404-252-8881
Despite having 125 stores nationwide, Learning Express Toys of Atlanta prides themselves on providing customers with a wide variety of hands-on toys. The Lightning Air Hockey Set ($29.99) and the Paint and Fly Glider Kit ($19.95) both represent the independent toy store experience despite the stores expansion and accessibility.
Rhen's Nest Toy Shop, 924 Garrett Street, Suite D, Atlanta, Ga. 30316; 404-500-6260
What makes the Rhen's Nest Toy Shop special is the amount of independent toy manufacturers that the store displays. Brands like Jellycat, Haba, Djeco, Manny & Simon, Greentoys, KidBasix and Gamewright to name a few, are proudly sold throughout. From handmade wooden and cotton toys to unique toys that can only be found at a store that supports other small businesses, Rhen's Nest -- founded by Christina and John -- is a great place for parents and kids to visit.
Treehouse Kid and Craft, 533 W. Howard Avenue, Suite A, Decatur, Ga. 30030; 470-355-8305
With shops in Decatur and Athens, Treehouse Kid and Craft specializes in well designed and responsibly made toys, crafts, clothing and books for kids of all ages. Owned by Kristen Bach, the store also offers art school classes ($78) for kids ages 2-9 with special baby sensory classes ($78).