20
Nov-2014

Belgium’s Best Toy Stores

babylab

Gift shopping is serious business in Belgium. Choosing the perfect gift is an art and even the most modest gift deserves elaborate wrapping, which can make it quite a lengthy process. I learned this firsthand L’Olifant on a recent trip to Liege, where I was in line behind a woman who was purchasing eleven items, to be wrapped individually.

For my younger kids, we always skip the usual souvenirs in Belgium (Mannekenpis corkscrew anyone?) and opt instead for a visit to a toy store so they can choose something they’ll actually play with—a novel idea.

I’ve also hit up toy stores for last-minute family member—I mean invitations. Sometimes, if you haven’t seen your extended family for a while, you might suddenly remember the day before your visit that there’s a new baby in the family (hem, hem). In Belgium, you would never dream of showing up to a social event empty-handed. While flowers, a good bottle of wine or a great box of chocolates will pass muster for adults, if you’re visiting a family with kids, skip the adult gifts and bring a little something for the kids instead.

Here’s a round-up of three of our favorite Belgian toy stores:

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L’Olifant, Liege

This enchanting store specializes in high-quality wooden toys, educational games, and colorful room accessories. I loved the hot air balloon and other mobiles, the huge geography section, and the wooden trains. A truly magical old-school shop rambling over four levels.

Window display at lLOlifant in Liege, Belgium

KidsLab, Antwerp

Antwerp’s modern style and trendy vibe shine through in this fabulous shop. Their logo, “For Kids and Cool Parents,� is spot-on and you’ll find all sorts of cool toys and gadgets with a modern twist. The attached BabyLab is a great place to outfit your (or your cousin’s) baby in the latest trends in clothing, accessories, and toys.

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Le Wolf, Brussels

Le Wolf is only a few steps from the Brussels’ Grand Place but feels a million miles away. Stepping into the shop feels like you’re stumbling into a fairy tale forest, with large trees looming above and a little wooden house (a story jukebox) reminiscent of The Three Little Bears. Although it’s primarily a bookstore, they also carry select high-end toys and coloring books. And feel free to snuggle up and read your favorite shopping partner a story in their large and airy library. (Read about other children’s bookstores in Brussels)

I’m happy to say that I found the perfect stuffed owl at L’Olifant for my adorable new cousin. And it was wrapped to perfection.

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  • Rishika Vaid Halwasiya

    Where in Brussels can I buy the “wonder pack “ for my 5 yr old?

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