Toys With Love are a Cure For the Summertime Blues

Hands-on toy store offers goodies galore.

Toys With Love mother/daughter team Gail Rogers, left, and Stacey Rogers with their 1956 delivery truck outside the 1770s farmhouse that serves as their shop.
Toys With Love mother/daughter team Gail Rogers, left, and Stacey Rogers with their 1956 delivery truck outside the 1770s farmhouse that serves as their shop.
Photo by Andy Foster

For many parents, the dog days of summer signal one daunting challenge: keeping the kids occupied until the first day of school.

Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor games and activities, Toys With Love carries classically cool gizmos (puzzles, kites and croquet sets) as well as the latest in high-tech gadgetry (robotics and remote-controlled drones).

At this hands-on Chester store, the philosophy is simple: Provide parents with playthings to enhance their children’s world. “Moms and dads come in for engaging gadgets to stimulate their kids. Every toy we sell has some educational or creative value,” says co-owner Stacey Rogers, who has a background in art and design. “Our clientele has appreciated curated merchandise from our more than 600 toymakers over the years.”

Her mom, Gail Rogers, a former teacher, opened Toys With Love (version 1.0) in Far Hills in 1986. The popular specialty educational toy store expanded to a larger building in Chester in 1997. Finally, in 2015, they moved into a nearby circa-1770 farmhouse with 4,400 square feet of interactive space that welcomes kids and grownups to explore a mega-inventory of crafts, games, building sets, dinosaurs, stuffed animals and more.

In front of the antique building resides a kitschy 1956 Ford pickup truck painted fire-engine red. The shop uses the vintage vehicle for free local deliveries.

The store offers personalization as well as gift wrapping. Upstairs, a communal space hosts birthday parties and other events for all ages. Camp activities are offered in the summer, and an after-school enrichment program begins each fall. “There’s always something fun and creative going on at the store,” Stacey says.

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