- Kid O
123 W. 10th St.; 212-366-5436
The playthings here are certain to turn your children into creative, forward-thinking creatures with a sense of history and precision-tuned motor skills. Okay, so there are no guarantees. But when it comes to originality, selection, and quality—not to mention parental approval—this West Village toy shop gets raves on all counts. Toy stores today tend to diverge into two strains: so good for you they’re boring or so Disneyfied they’re depressing. Owner Lisa Mahar has assembled a collection that includes the cheap (a three-ball yo-yo with flashing lights, $12 to $15), the handmade (individually knitted dolls, $95), the classic (eighteenth-century blocks invented by Friedrich Froebel, the founder of kindergarten, $275), and, this being New York, the ridiculously expensive (Italian oak puzzles, $600). The store is as neat as a nunnery, owing to its adherence to the Montessori philosophy: A clean and inviting play space equals a buzzing brain lab.