Lakeshore Learning Materials is a colorful national retailer that has proven to be an eye-popping paradise for parents, teachers and children alike. Games, crafts, kits, educational materials and art supplies sit piled high on the shelves inside this Hazard Center mall storefront in Mission Valley. So the story goes, single mom Ethelyn Kaplan opened a toy store in 1954, and in the decades since, the retailer has expanded into educational supplies and multiple outlets across the United States. Lakeshore’s mission is to create “innovative educational materials that spark young imaginations, instill a sense of wonder and foster a lifelong love of learning.” From infants to 6th graders, a wealth of educational fun awaits store visitors, and the many hidden treasures make for perfect birthday presents, holiday gifts or anytime buys for the curious kiddo in your life.
Baby Trader's resale collection overflows with gently loved clothing, toys, books, accessories, and furniture that help new parents pamper their budding brood. The selection of threads spans from infant to toddler sizes, and all secondhand clothing must be laundered before the staff even considers reselling it. Parents can prepare homes for new arrivals with Baby Trader's selection of car seats, strollers, cribs, and highchairs so newborns can maintain eye contact during dinner conversations.
Zazzle.com is an intensely popular provider of personalized presents, stamping T-shirts, coffee mugs, postage, greeting cards, and more with a singular seal of your own idiosyncratic identity. Quickly customize a basic men’s T-shirt ($12.95–$19.95) to commemorate your stellar parking-lot rugby season, or go for a cutely stylized greeting card ($2.95 and up, discounts available for mass quantities). Other popular items include self-designed mugs ($13.95–$22.10) and absurdly cute pet clothes ($18.95 and up). Since each item is created on the spot by Zazzle’s nondenominational gift-making elves, more complicated orders and items may take longer to produce and ship.
Symbolize It creates personalized gifts, emblazoning acrylic and glass memorabilia with photos and names of loved ones. Their individualized products range from lightweight acrylic photos to coasters, wine glasses, mugs, and clocks.
World Discoveries amplifies the imaginations of little ones with a selection of classic and eclectic board games, science kits, dolls, and other interactive distractions. Its junior versions of Monopoly and Scrabble prepare tykes for the cutthroat world of spelling bees and elementary-school property disputes, and its Jenga Max tower tests the patience of wee players with perpetual rebuilding projects. A set of Blendy pens encourages kids to mix and match colors, and Scientific Explorer kits demonstrate modern science in action with chemistry sets, mock volcanoes, and baking-soda-fueled rockets.
Though they’re surrounded by ocean and sandy beaches, the kids at Seascape Kids Fun never get wet. That’s because the seaside sights are actually murals, all part of the indoor playground's oceanic theme. Designed for kids of all ages, the three-story facility includes an Aquarium Play Room, where youngsters explore a play structure that circles a range for launching foam balls.
Island- and ocean-themed parties include time in both Seascape playrooms. Face painting and pizza feasts can also enliven parties, while donuts treat guests during morning pajama parties. While their kids scamper about, guardians can relax by surfing complementary Wi-Fi or pretend-read Finnegan's Wake in public.