Remember that neighborhood toy store, the one you saved your allowance up for so you could buy yourself that coveted Easy-Bake Oven or the latest Hot Wheels? Relive your childhood at the newest branch of Five Little Monkeys, a toy store that just opened its doors in downtown Burlingame. You won’t find a ton of batteries-included power toys—this store is focused on play and providing kids with all those things they need to grow their imaginations. Read on to find out what we love and what you will, too about this new toy hot spot.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Stephanie Sala opened the first Five Little Monkeys in 2001, using her family as inspiration. As the oldest of five siblings, she is one of five little “monkeys.” Her dad is a French toy designer who took the family on annual trips to France, where they frequented small toyshops and boutiques, as well as regular trips to shops around the Bay Area. And her mom, who founded Sweet Potatoes—a kids clothing manufacturer based in the Bay Area—taught the fine balance of family and career. Now a mother of two, Stephanie wanted to offer parents a place to shop that they could find quality toys from around the world that encourage pretend and creativity.
Stephanie has used the memories of the toy stores of her own youth, and taken the best of them all, so the Burlingame location is teeming with well-organized, awesome goods. With high-quality puzzles, games, trains, trucks, dolls, crafts, books, musical instruments, play-food, and much, much more, the store is stocked but not crowded. And her sense of whimsy and love of what she does comes across in the design: giant stuffed animal guardians peer down from the top of shelves, bells and shakers are within grabbing distance of little hands. Stephanie and her staff encourage families to explore the aisles–plop down and read a book from the extensive collection, play with a train at the train-table, shake a musical instrument or two. This is a place to explore and examine! And with aisles wide enough to navigate a stroller, ample street parking, and a bathroom for your little can’t-waiters, you can easily lose a few hours in this place. The location is also a quick half-block from the Caltrain station and surrounded by other shops: kids shoes, clothing, and lots of coffee shops and restaurants mean this can be a destination!
As a busy mom, Stephanie knows that parents need a well-curated, organized store where finding age appropriate and fun toys is easy. Five Monkeys achieves that in strides. Parents will also appreciate the commitment to eco-friendly toys, complimentary gift-wrap, and community-mindedness. The stores frequently make donations to local charities and schools.
If you are seeking something special for your own little house-apes, want to find a stellar gift for a birthday, or just happen to be in the hood, swing over to Five Little Monkeys in Burlingame and enjoy the splendor. For kids ages 0-12, you can count of Five Little Monkeys to have what you are looking for—and probably something unexpected. Something worthy of that allowance!
1111 Burlingame Ave.
Open M – Th. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
There are additional locations in Albany, Novato, and Walnut Creek.
What’s on your kids’ wish-list this year?
All photos Amber Guetebier