A cool thing about going online to shop for toys is being able to visit a lot of stores without being on your feet for hours, an advantage that grandparents can appreciate. You'll enjoy the experience more if you sometimes leave the online big-box retailers and venture into smaller sites. Here are some to check out. Each began with a specific vision, and each has its own market niche. It's a different experience to shop for toys at these online sites. I think you'll enjoy it.
1. Kazoo Toys
This online store's slogan is "Toys that play with imagination!" You may need a little imagination to use this website, as its search features are limited. Carrying over 200 brands, Kazoo is likely to have that perfect toy, if you can just find it. You can get free help from a personal shopper via phone. Kazoo carries Groovy Girls, one of my favorite doll lines. Look for SmartLab learning kits, baby toys from Manhattan Toys and YBike balance bikes and riding toys.
Click on a type of toy in the left hand menu, and this website shows you a selection, with the left menu changing to one that allows you to "refine" for category, age, price, brand and country. Fun to browse and easy to use, Moolka could become one of your favorite Internet shopping sites. To get free shipping, order $60+. Moolka has a lowest price guarantee, but read the fine print. Look for animal-building sets by Bloco, gear sets by Quercetti and cool open dollhouses from Plan Toys.
On Oompa's website founder Milanie Cleere discusses searching for toys that are sturdy and brand-free. Her search took her to Europe, the source of most of this website's offerings. Oompa's website promises "No batteries. No blinking lights. No cartoon-themed toys. Period." The site has good search-narrowing features. Look for whimsical knit baby toys from Yellow Label Kids, pedal go-karts from Berg and cool block sets by Haba.
As its name suggests, Fat Brain Toys excels in the area of educational toys. You can click on a link for American-made toys or a link for toys that are suited for special needs children. You can shop by category or age or use the Gift Bot to help you make a selection. Fat Brain Toys offers $3.99 shipping and same-day service, in most cases. Look for Squigz building toy with suction construction, Hexbug robotics and retro toys like Tonka trucks.