For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.
Kidding Around and its sister store, Just Kidding Around, peddle timeless, traditional toys to foster creative play and stimulate the minds of youngsters ranging from infants to teenagers. The stores' helpful, knowledgeable staff members guide customers toward toys for every sensibility. The Schylling little farmer garden tote ($21.99) arms budding botanists with a pint-sized spade, a shovel, and a watering can for putting out garden gnome campfires. A host of music-making toys, such as the miniature Woodstock Chimes Chimalong xylophone ($22.99), sate tuneful yearnings, whereas a Make-Your-Own Sock Puppet kit ($19.99) enables tots to create a soft and fuzzy new group of friends they can bring to life using nothing more than their hands and an authentic British accent. Board games ($12.99–$59.99) for all ages facilitate friendly competition, elevating family game nights above the level of push-up contests and disco dance-offs.