Walk into any toy store in Singapore and you’ll likely be faced with a pile of boxed toys. This may make you wonder about their quality and safety, and even how kids can interact with them, whether it’s a train or a play kitchen. LittleShop does things differently , offering demo sets that you can interact with and get a feel for, before deciding.
It also has the largest collection of toy kitchens in Singapore! In fact, this Marina Square toy store offers an eclectic variety of edutainment options for toddlers. One of its key products is a range of hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) toys, such as Teifoc Real Bricks building sets and Eitech metal building sets.
Owners KEVIN and ANGELA KWOK love seeing their own kids, Colette and Jonathan, having fun and playing with LittleShop toys; they also like to balance this indoor play with lots of cycling and outdoor activities, including a family favorite – visiting the zoo!
Here they share how their toy store encourages creativity and plays differently from others.
How was LittleShop born?
We started our business a few years ago as a small online store specializing in Japanese children’s products and party supplies. Along the way, we noticed the lack of variety of high-quality open-ended toys for kids in Singapore. As parents of young children ourselves, we could only buy high quality toys when traveling abroad or incurring high shipping costs.
This sparked the idea of importing unique toys from Europe. Many of them are new toy concepts that local customers may not be familiar with. We thought the best way to introduce these new brands would be to create a physical store; this way parents could see and touch the products and ask questions.
What do you look for when shopping for toys?
We recognize how important play is to a child’s development, but it should also be fun and safe. These values guide the way we buy our toys. Play is the best way for young children to learn because they are curious by nature. So we focus on practical and open toys that can stimulate their curiosity, creativity and interest. Safety and quality are another top priority for us. There are many cheap options on the market, where production and safety measures are subject to shortcuts to reduce costs. Our toys comply with the strictest safety requirements of European standard EN71. It is better to invest in high quality toys that can last for generations, so that the wonderful memories can be passed on and shared.
What are the strengths of the LittleShop range?
We have some pretty unique toys from Germany. For example, we offer Teifoc brick building sets made of real reusable bricks. The mortar is soluble in water, which makes it possible to dismantle and reconstruct the models built. The sets also come with a child’s trowel.
We also have Eitech metal building sets. Each set consists of individual parts for children to learn to put together to form different models. A kid’s screwdriver and wrench are included to make it easy for little hands!
Our Anbac antibacterial toys are made from patented materials such as high quality plastic integrated with naturally antibacterial pine wood; they are tested by the German Institute for Food and Technology. These toys have the ability to self-sanitize within eight hours, which is exceptionally helpful for toddlers who are going through oral development and who enjoy exploring their surroundings by putting objects in their mouths.
What toys are popular with parents right now?
The brick building sets Teifoc (Germany) and New Classic Toys Kitchenette (the Netherlands) are our bestsellers. Toy kitchens are one of the best investments for young children because they promote an open play experience, allowing them to create their own way of interacting with the kitchenette. At different ages, you’ll notice them creating different stories and imagining themselves in different roles. They also learn social-emotional skills by playing with family and friends.
Our daughter, who turns 8 this year, loves the Kitchenette Premium with its electric stove that creates sound and light. Every time she visits the store, she is so eager to “cook” for us. Our son is six this year and his favorite is the Harbor Set which consists of realistic container ships, trucks and cranes. It’s rare to find wooden toy port sets and it gives him a good understanding of how real machines work.
We hear you also have an “experiential concept” for your toy store. Can you elaborate on this subject?
We sell toys, not boxes. Quite often when you walk into a toy store in Singapore you will find a range of beautifully presented boxes, but you will have no idea of the quality or how well they might work to engage your child. At LittleShop we provide demo kits for most of our toys. This allows parents and children to feel the toys and interact with them when making a purchasing decision.
What pandemic-related measures are you taking in the store?
We remind customers young and old to wear their masks at all times and provide hand sanitizers at entrances and in different areas of the store so that customers can easily sanitize their hands before and after playing with the toys. Our toys are also disinfected frequently; we apply a self-disinfecting coating to keep bacteria, viruses and fungi away for three months. When we close our shop, we use UV sanitizers to keep the shop hygienic.
A few toys to try
Having trouble deciding what to get your kids? Here are some of Kevin and Angela’s recommendations for different age groups:
- Up to 3 years old: “I would recommend the New Classic Toys kitchenettes and kitchen toys, as well as the MODU build-it-yourself building blocks, which help develop gross motor skills.”
- Ages 3-5: “Children at this age would benefit from exploring the BigJigs wooden train, a dollhouse or the Planks2Play wooden boards.”
- From 5 to 8 years old: “Among the toys best suited to this age group are Teifoc brick building sets, Eitech metal building sets and Makedo cardboard creative building tool kits. .”
#02-25 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard
6974 6965 | littleshop.toys
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