Yesterday the family went to Jayanagar 4th block after quite a while. After having lunch at Pizza Hut located on the ground floor, we headed a floor up to Full of Toys for a playdate. I wasn’t quite sure what it was. We found out later that the store houses innovative toys that the kids could play with. We did not have to buy a toy after a playdate, so I thought why not? The younger son was pestering to have a look.
So the four of us found ourselves in a toy store, very similar yet different from many others we have visited in the past. Similar because it had toys in glass shelves all over the room. Different because of its concept. It was a small space and the store had 4 tables with tiny seating where 4 families could be accommodated. We were welcomed by the very courteous staff who enquired about the ages of our children and then brought out engaging activities that they could play. Both of us also sat down and in no time we got caught up in what the kids were playing.
Between them both, the boys picked up Rush Hour and Chocolate Fix. They had activities that started from beginner level and progressively took you to advanced levels. Well, if you thought they were easy. Nah! They were not. Rush Hour had a bunch of cars and a maze. The challenge was to take the red car to the exit while there was a traffic jam on the board. The game started with a card giving you a predetermined formation on the board. Then your task was to take the red car out of the board. Really engrossing and a test of analytical skills. Chocolate Fix had a nine-square board. Each puzzle had some clues like the colour or shape of what had to be put on. Like a crossword with images of sweets. One had to follow all clues to insert the correct pieces. The clues progressively got more challenging.
A few levels later, even adults like us could feel the challenge. We all took turns to crack these analytical activities that pitted your brain against cognitive challenges, just like puzzles do, but these were more interesting.
The owner of the store was very friendly, knowledgeable and good with kids. He gently egged the kids on. The younger son also enjoyed his hand at building blocks. He loved those and the Lego toys at home and here again he built a skyscraper. He was raring to build more.
I browsed the shelves and came across some outstanding activities/games that were curated from around the world. They were unique and so much better than the regular toys we see. I saw this place as a treasure trove of ideas to engage your kids as well as to gift to a child.
And you know what, none of us glanced at our phones except for me, as I took a few photos. This took me back to the good, old days of pleasurable games when we all could just play and also learn and challenge ourselves. I want to incorporate something like this for the entire family on each weekend.
Our one hour was up just like that. There was one activity, Circuit Maze, that the husband and the elder son especially loved. They were at it even after the hour was up.
I ended up buying the Rush Hour at the insistence of the younger son. It was priced at Rs. 1399 and it is imported from the US. Considering that the four of us came home and played it in the evening must tell you how truly the money’s worth this activity was and will continue to be. The toys in the store start from Rs. 300.
You can try out activities before buying them at the store. And you can order the same online at their store, Full of Toys.
What stood out for me with this playdate:
- Family Engagement: This concept encourages the entire family to come together and play. We got to spend time with each other and partake in an activity which due to different levels was suitable for each one of us. And as a parent frankly, I’ve lost the habit of sitting and playing with the kids. But this was such a revelation.
- Try out different games: The games/activities/toys are so unique and carefully curated to appeal to all age levels. We tried out about 5-6 of them and I could have bought them all, so wonderful they were.
- The Approach: I personally hate people pushing and shoving their wares down my throat. Whether it is an apparel store, books or any kind of shopping, I like to look around, make up my mind and only want help when I ask for it. This playdate was right up my alley. The staff wasn’t selling any activity or toy. They were attentive and informative. I saw a few families who came, played and left. No pressures to buy anything. To tell you the truth, that is the best way to sell.
- For all Ages: Though, the toys are for the age groups of 4-12, trust me these activities work till the age of adults.
- Innovative concept: I had a chat with the owner and tried to understand what he wanted to achieve with this concept. He wanted to bring back family time and actually encourage children to play with more activities and toys is a great way to take them away from digital addiction. Also to involve parents in the process is a masterstroke. God knows we all need to spend more time with our kids and these challenging games. I do hope they can evolve it into something like a membership where we can subscribe and play more games by dropping by.
- Tie up with a charity: I was pleased to know that they have a tie up with Goonj so that good quality used toys and books can be dropped with them. They, in turn, can be shared with anganwadis and play schools. I don’t know about you but I have a bunch of toys to give away. And I would love them to be put to good use.
Overall, I came away with a great experience of time well spent. I will be sure to keep connected with Full of Toys. My mind is already brimming with ideas to gift and things to buy for my kids. The only thing that holds you back is that the games are quite pricey.
If you live in Bangalore, I suggest that you give the playdate a try during one of the weekends. Call them up and book in advance or just walk in. Sunday, when we went, wasn’t that crowded. You will thank me later.