In which we visit the Magic Flute Toy Shop

Another in our ongoing series: What We Did This Summer.

A corner in the Aisle of Scientific Wonder (Photo Credit: Kendal J. Bush)

While we were tooling around the Monadnock region this summer, we stumbled upon a rather amazing toy store hidden behind an unassuming store front in a strip mall in Peterborough, NH, about thirty minutes northeast of Hillsborough.

In the store, my daughter made a beeline for the exceptionally well-stocked play area, which on that particular day had several musical instruments, a chalkboard for impromptu art, a mini-puppet theater, and various games scattered about. She could have stayed there for hours. My husband, who had drifted into the area after her, was quickly ensnared by what appeared to be a nearly impossible puzzle similar to PlaSmart’s Perplexus Maze Game.

Having tucked my husband and daughter safely away, I embarked on some serious shopping.

If you squint, you can see the pink make-your-own-toothpaste kits on the far left. (Photo Credit: Kendal J. Bush)

First up was the Aisle of Scientific Wonder–a line of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves packed with experimental goodness. With offerings that ranged from traditional chemistry, physics, engineering, and meteorologysets to the more hippy-ish make your own toothpaste kits, the aisle had enough variety to keep me happily browsing for quite some time.

Somehow I managed to make it out of that honey-trap with only three boxes tucked under my arm. Then I stumbled on the crafts section, which was stocked with still more fabulous ideas, including old-timey knitting dolls, make-your-own mosaic sets with stones that could be cut with a child’s scissors, jewelry-making kits, and simple sewing kits for children age 5 and up.

Across from the crafts section I found still more great toys–construction sets and animal habitats made of eco-friendly materials; some strange compound called Bubber that you can work like Playdoh but which never dries out; a complete collection of wooden cars, trucks, trains, and buses (and the requisite wooden tracks to run them on); costumes for playing dress-up; enough dollhouse furniture to stock a small city; and a pint-sized version of Williams-Sonoma.

On and on I prowled, my stack growing ever higher.

By the time I wandered into the clothing section, my stack of potential purchases tipped precariously over my head. Oh, if only price were no object.

Things being as they are, though, it was time to make some choices. So I recruited the troops. Within a very few minutes, my husband and daughter had whittled the pile down to something that would actually fit in the car.

In the end, we left with a set of handmade juggling balls, the National Geographic Dinosaurs & Fossils Experiment kit, and a very long list of ideas for Santa.

The candy shop (Image Credit: Kendal J. Bush)

What’s there:

  • Lots and lots of toys, educational and otherwise
  • Clothing, both new and consignment
  • Nursing & Maternity items
  • Nostalgia-inducing candy shop
  • A play area to keep shopping-adverse companions–both young and old–amused while you browse

So would we go again?

Yes. In the meantime, we’ll browse their wares online.

Logistical Stuff

Where The Magic Flute Toy Shop
What A unique toy shop specializing in eco-friendly, fair trade and educational products.
Address Monadnock Community Plaza
1 Jaffery Road, Suite 9
Peterborough NH 03458
Phone 1-603-924-2101
Facebook Magic Flute Child
Hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 9:00 – 6:00
Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  9:00 – 7:00
Sunday: 10:30- 3:30

Many thanks to Kendal J. Bush, who graciously agreed to let me to use her beautiful photographs of the store.

Related Caterpickles:

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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2 Responses to In which we visit the Magic Flute Toy Shop

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