What's Old is New in Toyland

Board games and tiddlywinks are making a comeback

Keeping kids occupied is big business and, over the years, board games and tiddlywinks have given way to PlayStation and Nintendo Wii, but the recession is creating a seismic shift in Toyland in Connecticut and beyond.

Mom-and-pop toy stores, like Toy Land in Simsbury, are becoming hot commodities, the Hartford Courant reports. Between the lousy weather this summer and a growing need for affordable things to do with the kids, parents are turning to specialty shops to find toys that tickle the mind instead of the wallet, like board games.

"If you get up to the lake or a beach somewhere and you decide to go out for the movies, well, that can cost almost $100 now for a family of four," Necker told the Courant. "But for $15 or $20, you can play a board game all week"  

According to research firm the NPD Group, overall U.S. toy sales were down 3 percent in 2008, but the steepest declines were in the high-ticket categories, such as video game sales.

On the other side, things like building sets and plush toys enjoyed a 26 percent and 22 percent increase, respectively.

Overall, toys are still big business for retailers and even in a recession, parents are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to keep the kiddies entertained.

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