Story by Emily Williams-Robertshaw • Photos by Maury Wald
Tricia McCain – Homewood Toy & Hobby
Do you have any tips for shoppers who are navigating the 2021 holiday shopping season?
My tip for shoppers this season is that if you want a particular item and you see it on the shelf, don’t hesitate on buying it. It may not be there even a couple of days later. We are well stocked for the holidays but reorders are pretty much impossible to guarantee at this point. Some of our companies cut off ordering as early as September this year due to staffing and shipping issues. We are lucky we ordered early for the holidays in anticipation of delays!
What is your favorite rising trend in toys?
We are seeing more and more toys being released that focus on creativity and imaginative play and toys that get kids outdoors. This past year has seen a huge increase in sales in our hobby department with more kids getting involved in remote control cars and plastic model building.
If you could be any toy, which would you be and why?
I couldn’t come up with a toy, so I asked our store manager, Julie Marix and she says she would be a baby doll because they are loved and cherished for many generations.
For the infants on up, McCain said Bella Tunno teethers, $12.99 and available in various colors, have been a huge hit. They come in multiple colors and feature trendy phrases.
Le Toy Van Noah’s Balancing Ark, $29.99, is a wooden Noah’s ark with colorful animals that teaches basic stacking skills. Ages one and up.
Toddlers will love the Hape Rocket Ball Air Stacker, $32.99, which includes stack tubes to build a rocket. Once the rocket is built, drop the ball inside and turn on the fan to see the balls fly in the tubes.
The Kidoozie Cruisin’ Cuisine Playset, $34.99, is the funnest food truck in town, with accessories, working components and sounds of a real moving kitchen.
Kids who love to work with their hands can’t get enough of Educational Insights Design & Drill ABCs & 123s, $32.99, a battery drill with bolts and activity cards that not only entertain your kids but teach them.
Brand new for 2021, the Calico Critters Baby Amusement Park, $64.99, is a complete playset to use with Calico Critter babies. In addition to this new play set, the store carries the full line of critters.
One of the Homewood Toy and Hobby crew’s favorite tech features this year is the Boomerang Stunt Drone, $19.99. The motion-activated drone has become a Tik Tok sensation.
The love of unicorns does not seem to be waning. One of the latest popular items is the Hot Focus Unicorn Beauty Backpack, $29.99, which includes a glittery make up kit.
Crafty children can create their own indoor fairy garden with the Creativity for Kids Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden, $26.99. The kit includes a planter as well as fairy-inspired accessories.
Endorsed by Russell Wilson, the Aerobie Sonic Fin Football, $22.99, will get kids playing outside and testing its ability to be thrown up to 100 yards.
When it comes to stuffing stockings, Marix and McCain’s go-to are Plus Plus tubes, $7.99. The construction toys are one of the store’s best-selling items that match building with creativity.
A blast from the past that has remained popular has been Duncan YoYos, $5.99 and up.
Choose Your Own adventure books, $6.99, are a great stocking stuffer, according to Marix, especially if you have a car trip coming up.
Rory’s Story Cubes are an imaginative line of games that come with themed cubes that kids can use to build their own stories. While the store stocks a variety of themes, one of Marix’s favorites is the Star Wars pack, $15.99.
For a fun surprise in a blind package, Marix is loving CuteTitos Babitos, $12.99. Each package includes a baby plush animal wrapped in a mini burrito blanket and stuffed into a taco.