There was no event, no holiday, and no party that had the capability to bring the same amount of joy as a trip to Toys 'R' Us could. Okay sure, you can argue that Christmas was better, or your birthday was more fun, but think about it, Toys 'R' Us visits could happen at any time, but holidays are once a year.
Okay, call me crazy, but it was absolutely the most fun outings ever, even if your parents didn't let you buy any toys. Why was it so fun just to wander around a store? Well, this may change based on the layout of your local Toys 'R' Us, but this is how I remember my Toys 'R' Us visits.
1. Educational Toys First
The way the store was set up had all the cool Discovery Channel type toys on the right side, so out of habit we would always go there first. I think it may have been my mom just wanting to feel like we at least thought about learning something.
I would play with the dinosaurs, dream about one day building a robot, but then I'd continue on my path.
Excitement level: About a 7/10 by this point.
2. Crayola / Crafting
If you were anything like me, you could spend roughly 75 hours in this section alone. There were a lot of kits and sets that would let you make your own crayons, or build your own jewelry, or make friendship bracelets. There were also the Easy Bake Oven and the Creepy Crawlers sets that are always fun to play with, and you can't forget Play-Doh!
Nothing says childhood fun like melting/cooking things with light bulbs or creating fake food out of colorful Play-Doh!
Excitement level: About a 7.5-8/10 depending on the new sets available.
3. Barbie Time
Then it's time to go into the pinkest aisle of all and discover all the new jobs that Barbie has obtained. Was she taking up gymnastics? Did she have new extra bendy legs? What new siblings were being introduced?
There were too many options to take in all at once, so this aisle was a very focused adventure. You had to look at every one to find out all the awesome stuff she'd come with, and then you'd move onto the the spare outfits and accessories. I couldn't even estimate how many pairs of Barbie shoes I owned/lost over the years, the number would be absolutely outrageous.
Excitement level: 8.5-9/10 depending on how close to Christmas or your birthday it was because those were probably the only times you were going to get a new doll.
4. Stuffed Animals
Who else wished the could squeeze the Puppy Surprise dogs to see if they could find one with the most babies? I liked looking at all the different color combinations and repeatedly telling my mother that I needed it.
There was always a great selection of teddy bears and stuffed animals, as proved by my huge collection of Disney toys and monkeys, but honestly it didn't matter if it was all the same ones, because it was always the cutest part of the trip.
Excitement Level: 8/10 it was a good time, but you were still coming down from the Barbie high.
5. Board Games
Okay, this part may not have been exciting for everyone, but I always loved board games. It seemed like there was a new one every second week, and because I didn't really go to Toys 'R' Us that often, there were so many to choose between.
Sure, a lot of them turned out to be terrible, but every once and a while there were some real gems.
Excitement Level: 8.5/10 I know it's not for everyone, but I was in heaven.
I always got annoyed when the sales people would try to show me the "girl sets," because it's Lego, it didn't need specific sets, but either way it was still fun. There didn't used to be as many kits that came with instructions, and I feel like it used to be a lot more lose bricks to build whatever you wanted and it was perfect.
I built so many weird cars, a few spaceships, and of course a thousand castles.
Excitement Level: 8.5-9/10 depending on how many annoying sales people tried to push a pink set into my hands.
7. Action Figures
Even though they seemed to have sectioned off this part as the "boy section" it was where they kept all the action figures for movies. How else was I going to find Jurassic Park dinosaurs?
The Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, and Batman toys were very important to my childhood.
Excitement Level: 8.5/10 every new cartoon meant a new set of toys to explore.
8. RC Cars
Long before drones were in every household, we would all dream of owning a super cool remote controlled car.
The only problem with remote controlled cars were when you had a sibling who also had one and they were on the same frequency. It made for a lot of really weird races where for some reason you were driving their car all the sudden.
Excitement Level: 8/10 Cool, but you knew what was next.
Everyone's favorite part of going to Toys 'R' Us was riding the bikes around the aisles. Sure, you could try the skateboards or scooters, but it was the bikes that were the most fun. Although, I actually also enjoyed riding around on the trikes even when I was too big because I thought it was funny.
You would try to be sneaky, but there's no way that the employees didn't see you cycling around like a dufus. It would go on until your mom yelled at you, but it was the highlight.
Excitement Level: 10/10 It was the ultimate part of any visit. For some reason it was so much more fun than riding your own bike.
10. Video Games
When I was a kid, we didn't have a N64, but boy, did I ever want one. After I would be banished from the bike aisles, I would go back up past the Barbies and Lego, and go into the special video game section that felt like its own like private store.
If you were lucky, there would be games set up to try, but even just looking at the box art would be pretty awesome. It was always good to try and beg your mom with the machine right in front of you, because then you could say "it's right there!" But it never worked...
Excitement Level: 9/10, quickly declining to -4/10 based on how many times your mom said no or just laughed in your face and then told you it was time to leave.