Most parents would have gone through the experience of walking into a toy store here in Malaysia, picking up a nice looking toy, looking at the price and going..”What The….?????”
As a parent of a 5 year old, I have gone through that not just once but many times. I am not sure why, but toys are becoming more and more expensive by the day. Just go into Toys R’ Us and pick up that new Star Wars toy. You are looking at spending at least RM100 if not more.
From my experience, toys that my son enjoy playing and engage a lot with would have some of the following features:
- Well built and sturdy – Kids are generally abit rough and that toy needs to hold together well. Imagine playing with a toy and some part keeps falling off or it just breaks when you drop it once. That’s money wasted.
- Can be modified and changed – Example: Lego. Kid’s love them as you can continually build new things, fix it, modify it and so on
- Role Play – Something where he is able to pick up, interact, create a story or something fun like action figures etc.
To me personally, toys which fulfill the above criteria are considered good quality toys and worth the money.
Now, you can get plenty of cheap toys. Just go to a night market or some stalls and you’ll find plenty of such toys which are rather cheap. The downside is that they don’t last. My son has got a few such toys as gifts. Like some remote control car which stops working after a week or so. Many Malaysians will come up with the “Made in China-lah!” argument. But these days, almost everything is made in China. From your Apple smartphone to LEGO.
How do we get some good toys at cheap prices?
Apart from waiting for some garage sale to happen, there’s one simple way. Buy online.
You may think that the shipping cost would make it more expensive and so on. But it’s usually still cheaper than retail.
Here’s how to purchase a toy online.
Three places to shop online which I’d recommend:
Avoid Lazada, Mudah and others. I have searched many a times and found that prices are often higher than retail. Here are some simple steps to find the best price.
- You can look for toys at the three online stores above.
- For Ebay and Lelong, check the seller rating. In most cases, you will find seller with good ratings. You can also see what others, who have purchased from them, commented. For Carousell, you can see the feedback of buyers.
- Once you search for an item on any of the above websites, always filter price from Low to High. This will show you if there are other sellers selling the same item at a cheaper price.
- If you are keen on any item, just contact the seller and find out about shipping costs. Most cases postage is around RM7-RM10. if you buy above a certain amount, the seller usually waives the postage fee. Most of them use PosLaju.
- If you can’t find an item on Ebay once you search for it, click on “Follow Search” on the top right. Then in your settings page, look for Followed Searches and be sure to have “Subscribed Email” turned on. This means if any new items which match that search term is available, you will be notified by email. Unfortunately, that feature is not available on Lelong or Carousell.
- If you find an item, you can compare the price with that from retail stores. Just go to Toys R’ Us online and you can see the retail price and make a comparison. In most cases you’ll find that the price is at least 10% less.
Specific Toys To Look Out For.
This list may seem biased towards toys for boys but since I have a son, these are toys that I often purchase. I believe most kids will love them.
1. LEGO (Bricks, Technic & CCBS)
Everybody knows Lego is just awesome but it is somewhat pricey. I am not even sure if they are still making it for kids or for adults. One Star Wars Lego Set would cost you at least RM200 and above.
DO NOT BUY LEGO AT RETAIL. It is much cheaper to buy Lego online in Malaysia. Stores to check out:
Both the above stores have good prices. Almost 10-15% less than retail. Look online on ebay as well. For example, I saw a Ninjago set on ebay for RM60. Retail was RM150. Set is brand new and in perfect condition. If you contact the seller, they will even provide you a photo of the actual box.
Also, apart from Lego Technic and Bricks, there is the Creature and Character Building System (CCBS) which has series like Hero Factory, Bionicle and so on. These are Lego Sets where you build action figures. They are usually cheaper than other Lego sets but have the same build excitement and play value. You can get a Lego Bionicle Set for around RM65. It’s a great way to get your kid interested in Lego if they are not to keen on the traditional Brick builds.
2. Hot Wheels
Another series which are great for kids. It is also one of the few toys you can buy retail that is affordable. Cars are priced between RM5-RM20. Movie tie-ins are often priced higher. There are similar toys by other brands like Fast Lane but I’ll highly recommend going with just Hot Wheels. The cars are rock solid. You can buy some simple tracks and few cars to start off with and then expand them to make it more complex with add-ons.
3. Hasbro’s Titan Hero Series
All kids love action figures. Go to Toys R’Us and pick up that tiny 4 inch Superman. You’ll find the its priced around RM60 and some even more than RM100. At first I was confused. I thought since this was a tiny piece of toy for kids, it should cost no more than RM30. Unfortunately, the movie-tie ins, brand and apparent quality gives it that high price. A Ninja Turtle Figure is RM80+ these days.
Worry not. Instead of getting those cheap and ugly looking ones at the night market, check out this toy series by Hasbro
Hasbro Titan Hero Series is a super hero figure toy series. The figures are mostly 12 inches in height and reasonably priced. You can get a figure for around RM50-RM60 at retail and some at discounted prices online. They are also rock solid.
I have this Spiderman figure which I got for my son a couple of years back. He has played with it so much yet it is still solid with hardly any dents or visible scratches. All joints work perfectly. In fact it looks new. The figures are well built and paint is also good. You can just wipe it with a wet cloth to clean without affecting the paint.
The only downside to this series is that the articulation is limited to shoulders, head and legs. You don’t get knee and elbow articulation. I don’t really think it’s a big deal considering the figures a very well detailed and look awesome!
WARNING: Because it is reasonably priced, they are often snapped up by adult collectors! You can contact Toys R’ Us to find out which figures are available at which branch. They are also available at AEON I think and other major toy outlets.
Don’t be confused with Titan Hero Tech or Titan Hero Solid. (those have some electronic features and priced above RM100). This is Hasbro Titan Hero Series. 12 inch strong and sturdy super hero figures. They also have Star Wars characters in this same 12 inch size. Price is around RM65 – RM90.
Off-season figures (when there are no movie tie-ins etc.) can be bought at even more discounts. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy Titan Hero Series is now priced at only RM26! Here’s a snapshot on Toys R’ Us.
These are just some of the value for money toys out there in my opinion and how you can purchase them at cheaper prices. For girls, you can get plenty of Barbie Dolls on ebay, lelong and Carousell as well.
There are also users who sell used toys of the above on Carousell, You can view the actual item to see if it is in good condition. For Lego, its no problem. You can wash the toys and restore them back to be just like new.
Here are some terminologies sellers may use online.
MISB – Mint in Sealed Box. This means item is brand new and box is in good condition
NIB – New in Box. Also a new item in a box
BIB – Back in Box. Item was previously used. Now has been packed back in the box
Split Set – Toy comes with a few accessories. The seller may remove some parts and sell it back again. Common for Lego where seller sells back the set without the minifigures for a much cheaper price.
You can also find Toy Reviewers on YouTube. Yes, you heard that right. Professional Toy Reviewers. Here’s one review on the Hasbro Titan Hero Series: Star Lord (Toy shown above)
Hope this article helps parents buy some great toys for kids. Do let me know if there are other ways you get toys at good prices and if there are other brands or series worth looking out for.