Last October, Playthings Toy Store at Hilldale moved from the middle hallway to the Sundance Cinemas end of the mall. It's a long way from Playthings' first incarnation in Westgate, where it opened for business in 1986.
The new location's design features glowing toy blocks on the walls and an inlaid, curving path reminiscent of Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road. Many toys focus on active play, like a wooden spoon puppet theater kit ($20) and the Creature Peeper ($7), an insect container that magnifies bugs three times their size. Schleich's toy cows ($4) join a zoo's worth of other animals.
Playthings also sells infant and toddler apparel and eco-friendly children's products, including ScooterBees' super-soft baby shoes ($35) made from recycled materials and Boon's ModWare BPA-free baby food spoon ($9).
Hip Hello Kitty wallets ($16-$20) and nifty model toy cars, like a mini-General Lee ($4) from Dukes of Hazzard, join nostalgia from even earlier decades, like the original Slinky Dog ($19), Tiddlywinks ($5) and marbles in different colors and sizes ($.10-$2.80).
The middle hallway location is still open, and I advise checking out the store's moving sale, with 25%-75% off everything. With customers' help, owner Nancy Nigl hopes they'll be fully moved out by the end of February.
Hilldale Mall, 702 N. Midvale
10 am-9 pm Mon.-Fri., 10 am-6 pm Sat., noon-5 pm Sun.