Don’t let the name fool you: At Art of Toys, you won’t find Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls. This charming midtown boutique appeals to the kid in everyone, carrying playthings that are unusual, goofy, retro or whimsical, along with unique pieces by local artists. A former toy and art sales representative, owner Terri Rehg opened the shop four years ago. (It was her lifelong dream.) It’s like a modern-day version of the old five-and-dime.
There are wooden tops ($1.50), bicycle horns ($5.99), robot pens ($4) and two-packs of balsa-wood gliders ($6.50). There’s also a wide variety of pricier toys, such as plushies, puzzles, pull toys and wooden blocks. For baby boomers nostalgic for their youth, Art of Toys has an extensive collection of vintage toys (some in the store, others available online), including tin toy cars from the 1950s and ’60s ($12–$30); a 1961 Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone ($45) if you yearn for a pretend landline; and a circa 1950 Howdy Doody ventriloquist dummy ($200). 1126 18th St.; (916) 446-0673; artoftoys.com
Least expensive/ most expensive: Eyeball marbles ($1.35); Marilyn Radzat art doll, “Winter’s Bride” ($1,997)
Popular with kids: Large “gem” paperweights ($7.50) and teensy glass Smurf and Tynies figurines ($4)
Popular with grown-up kids: For desk toys, wind-up mechanical creatures from Kikkerland ($12–$18); for home and office decor, shiny, vintage-inspired Bruno wooden racing cars ($65) and stacking wooden robots ($15)
Most popular baby presents: Hansa Little Lamb plush toy ($36) and Uncle Goose Elemental Blocks ($36), so baby can learn the periodic table