By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Whether your shopping list includes the hottest craft loom, toys for active outdoor play, science kit, special stuffed animal, or even swaddling blankets just like the ones that wrapped Britain's baby Prince George, Learning Express Toys can make holiday shopping easier.
Tina Jacobson has owned the toy store, on Rt. 30 in Westborough, for almost two years. “We specialize in the toys the chains don's carry, as well as in such favorites as Lego and Playmobil. A lot of craft vendors make exclusive products just for the independently-owned Learning Express stores, and I carry really nice, hard-to-find puzzles. But we don's have any electronics.”
Along with the selection, Learning Express offers services not available in chain stores, starting with expert advice on age-appropriate gifts. “We recently helped a mom looking for a gift for her son to take to a baby shower.”
The store will personalize a wide variety of items. “Ask if we can personalize an item, especially if it is metal or plastic,” Jacobson said. Free gift wrapping is available.
The store offers a birthday box gift registry, with the birthday child picking out toys for the box so friends can select which toy they's like to give from that box.
To help with holiday shopping, Learning Express will take 20 percent off all regularly-priced merchandise from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1.
Learning Express has expanded its infants” selection with the Baby Boutique line, including toys and clothing, keepsake albums, and the SwaddlePlus Wraps that cuddled the future king of England.
Jacobson offered several gift suggestions for children of various ages.
For toddlers, she recommended brightly-colored cars, trucks and building blocks from International Playthings, and riding toys for ages 9 months and up. She also carries the Lollacup drinking cup, whose inventor was recently featured on Shark Tank, the network television show where investors pick winning ideas.
For children over 3, an art table with benches and art supplies encourages creativity, and Magnatiles building blocks sets are designed for open-ended play, she noted.
Outdoor toys such as giant balls, scooters, and games are available for all ages.
The popular Speed Stacks stacking game will be demonstrated by the USA Speed Stack team on Saturday, Nov. 23, in the store.
For girls, choose from the wide variety of art and craft kits to make pillows, duct tape or embroidery floss jewelry, headbands and more. For boys, there are race car and spaceship model kits and construction sets.
Learning Express offers a large assortment of games, with special buy-one-get-one-free deals for the holidays on many games. And there are lots of educational toys such as science kits and solar-powered robot kits.
“The hottest thing this season is the Rainbow Loom,” Jacobson said, “and I'se ordered plenty. I won's run out.” She stocks about 45 different colors of the rubber loops used to weave bracelets and more on the looms and has an assortment of storage cases for the loops that can be personalized. The looms are designed for children 8 and older, though Jacobson said children as young as 5 can make projects with them.
Rainbow Looms are popular with girls, but boys also use them. She noted boys frequently make bracelets in the colors of their favorite teams, and she has loops in Bruins black and gold, Celtics green, Red Sox red, and Patriots red, white and navy.
Learning Express is located at 50 East Main St. in Westborough. It is open 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. During November and December, the store will stay open until 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. For more information or to sign up for email notices of special promotions, visit the website www.learningexpress.com/store/westborough or call 508-898-0076.