The colorful new toy store, Joyful Tantrum Recess, invites children to stay and play

MIDLAND, MI — Joyful Tantrum Recess, a toy store and gift shop where customers are encouraged to play and stick around, is now open in Midland.

Almost everything in the new store is colorful and whimsical. Strawberry-scented erasers, robot-shaped markers, necklaces with gummy bear-like charms, kaleidoscopes, butterfly nets and a rainbow of stickers, bouncing balls, bath, plastic dinosaurs and wooden puzzles fill the shelves.

“Everyone has to play. Everyone needs to have fun,” said business owner Julia Kepler.

Joyful Tantrum Recess opened at 4000 Jefferson Ave. in May. It is located in a plaza with Good Time’s Pizza and 7-Eleven. The new store is Kepler’s third storefront in Midland. She also owns Serendipity Road, which opened in 2017 in downtown Midland, and Joyful Tantrum, a smaller format toy store, which opened next to Serendipity Road in 2019.

“We took notes of what customers wanted, and that could fill four of those spaces,” she said. “It’s like Joyful Tantrum-plus.”

There are children’s books near colorful cushions where customers can sit and read. A small ball pit and games and puzzles placed on miniature tables invite children to play. A weekly story hour will be offered at 10 a.m. on Saturdays starting June 4.

And like Joyful Tantrum downtown, the new store doesn’t sell electronic toys. Instead, Kepler calls it “an unplugged toy store, so you can connect with the ones you love.” Some small toys and gifts cost $10 or less.

“We always want parents to feel like they can say ‘yes’ to something,” Kepler said.

In addition to children’s toys, books and games, shoppers will find an entire section dedicated to adults that is full of unique, giftable and always whimsical items. Kepler’s favorite product right now is a set of fancy sloth-shaped kitchen sponges.

“Houses shouldn’t look like those in magazines. Every area of ​​your home should have something to make you smile,” she said.

Joyful Tantrum Recess is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.

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