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Belle Boutique in Bentonville.
801 NW J Street
Belle Boutique has shops in Rogers, Fayetteville, and Mountain Home, but their location on J Street in Bentonville is a shopping place with kids in mind. A simple playhouse sits against one wall and includes a small television playing videos. A table with a spool of drawing paper invites children to sketch out their daydreams and big plans while mommies and daddies shop around. The house is a clever, three-walled structure so kids inside can be seen by adults, and children have a panoramic view of the store so they won’t lose sight of Mom.
Belle Boutique sells trendy clothing & accessories, shoes, and jewelry. This Bentonville location also stocks fashion and accessories for girls, or “Lil’ Belles.” If you’re looking for a special outfit or piece of clothing for a gal on your shopping list, hit Belle’s first—and bring the littles. To see new items and clothing on sale, check out their Facebook page and follow the shop on Twitter.
Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers
2203 Promenade Blvd.
The Promenade is filled with a variety of stores to keep kids all kinds of happy, and even a few treat places for a sweet shopping break. The fountains are an attraction for both children and adults, and the play area outside the Food Pavilion offers a respite where adults can stop and let kids rumble around. Auntie Ann’s Pretzels, Yum Yos Frozen Yogurt, and The Great American Cookie Company are a few shops to help distract children from tagging along throughout the day.
Santa has already made a debut at the Promenade, and continues his appearances throughout November and December. Children can are invited to attend Story Time with Santa at the Food Pavilion at 6:00 in the evening December 9 – December 25. Milk and cookies provided.
Osage Clayworks in Osage
16501 Arkansas 10# (11 miles west of Alpena on US 412)
Osage Clayworks boasts “handmade pottery in a neat old building,” on their website, and that is precisely what you’ll find when you stop in. I’ve nervously braved the store with my young boys, only to find that potter Newt Lale is one step ahead of me. He keeps balls of clay on a low table for kids to mold and form into clay creations so I can look around at the beautiful, breakable pottery that fills the shelves, the kind of pottery that can’t be found just anywhere. Handmade water jugs, plates, mugs, and drinking glasses in unique colors and styles: this shop has it all. Children even get to leave with tiny baked bowls that Mr. Lale makes from all that kid-friendly clay.
Trolley Line Bookshop in Rogers
110 West Walnut in Rogers
We know children love to run up and down the aisles of a bookstore, but when there’s a special area just for them, little legs will be happy to rest for a spell. This bookstore in downtown Rogers maintains an area (in the children’s book section, of course) with puzzles, an easel, a toy school bus, and a basketful of stuffed characters. So while you search the novel section for the reader on your Christmas list, the children are entertaining themselves and doing a little reading of their own.
Trolley Line carries a selection of out-of-print hardcovers, novels, and sells paperbacks across all kinds of subjects, including history, political science, and books about Arkansas.
Christopher Toys & Gifts in Jonesboro
627 Parker Road, Jonesboro
It’s the “the toy store that rocks” in the northeast part of the state. Outside this local store, you’ll find a play structure for kids. Inside, you’ll find toys in dozens of categories including educational games, collectibles, action figures, science & nature materials, musical toys, and toys for the bathtub. You’ll also find arts and crafts supplies, books, and classics like Elf on the Shelf. There’s even a selection of products for tweens.
The workers at J. Christopher also hope that people come to the store with requests for invitations, party supplies, and registries. They do their best to find whatever customers need. The shop also welcomes kids of all ages by hosting special events. Keep an eye on their Facebook page so you (and your children) don’t miss out.
2200 E. Race Street
813 2nd Street
Follow Coleman’s on Facebook for updates.
Coleman’s shop sells supplies for the office worker on your list, educational products for the teacher, and learning games for the children. The staff at Coleman’s has also made great spots to welcome children in their stores. Children can enjoy a television, a table, and a few simple toys and activities while you search for every kind of gift from flannel boards to folders. Shop on.
Eggshells Kitchen Company in Little Rock
5501 Kavanaugh Blvd.
You might be hesitant to take your child into a kitchen store, but Eggshells Kitchen Company has a welcoming staff that invites everyone inside, including the kids. Georganne Yehling, who works at the store, says it is great place for children because of the interaction they get with employees. “We have an amazing staff that loves kids, and we keep things like kids’ aprons and cookbooks in stock so the experience is fun for them while parents and grandparents shop.”
Eggshells sells all kinds of cookware, barware, and cutlery. With handy kitchen gadgets starting at just a few dollars (and free shipping), this southern Arkansas gem has something for everyone who cooks—or just eats. The staff at Eggshells is also happy to help with your gift and entertaining needs by offering registries and cooking classes.
Whole Foods Market in Little Rock
10700 N. Rodney Parham Road
The Little Rock location also holds events just for children, including their monthly Whole Kids Club. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events.
A play area at the grocery store? Yes, please. Children coming in this market have a place to sit, color, and read while parents scan the aisles for good bread, tasty produce, and a variety of specialty items and body care products. Groceries + gifts + child entertainment in one trip = joy for the world.
Several shopping malls in Arkansas host locally owned shops and booths, along with play places for kids.
Northwest Arkansas Mall has a playroom with several structures for children to climb on and run around, as well as a few coin rides throughout the mall. This mall is also home to Gymnastic Joe’s, who hosts open gym rates for kids, and parents, to jump around get out some energy. Check Joe’s website for days, times, and cost.
4201 North Shiloh Drive
Fort Smith Central Mall
Play place next to the food court.
5111 Rogers Avenue
You’re going to need a break from all this marathon shopping. Check out the holiday events taking place all around the state, and keep an eye out for places during your shopping day that will help the kids get refreshed, just like you. Good places to start:
Mud Street Café in Eureka Springs
22 South Main St., Eureka Springs
This café has won several awards for Best Coffee, Best Breakfast, and Best Desserts. In my book they get the award for best kid-friendly holiday shopping break in one of the most popular downtown districts in the state.
In the back room behind the main dining area and coffee bar, there’s another dining area and a corner spot for young ’uns with books and paper and a table and toys. After I’ve trekked up and down the hilly streets, while keeping kids at bay in all those tempting stores, I like to rest my bones and my bags at Mud Street. I enjoy their coffee, espresso, home fries, and pies—all made fresh and served friendly. Parents, we can have our coffee and drink it, too. And also our dessert.
All Aboard Restaurant and Grill in Little Rock
6813 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock
The maintenance of managing children at a restaurant almost makes you want to head home for lunch, but if your shopping takes your south, stop in at All Aboard, and keep the child survival bag in the car. Burgers, home-cut fries, and even veggie burgers and strawberry salad are on the menu at this restaurant, which opens up at 10:30 for lunch.
The video on the website will show you most of what you need to know. Trains chug-chug around a track near the ceiling and distribute trays to a chute, which then lowers down to deliver your food. Children can sit back and watch the show, so even moms and dads will be entertained, or at least catch a few moments of adult conversation.
The Purple Cow
8026 Cantrell Road
Locations also on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock, Hot Springs, and Conway
The Purple Cow might be the quintessential child-friendly restaurant, but their meals (and famous shakes) are lauded by adults who stop in for a full menu of fresh food. They still hand-dip their shakes at the fountain in this restaurant, and customers can create their own sundae with a selection of ingredients. The Purple Cow restaurant welcomes kids with a cup of crayons, coloring pages, and whole lot of purple.
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