Author - Katherine McHenry


I am the proud owner & operator of Building Blocks Toy Stores-2 locations.  I have been serving the community as a toy expert for over 18 years.  I share all my fun toys and goodies with my son, Tai and daughter, Linh.  Our family headquarters is in Andersonville while my shops are in Lakeview & Wicker Park. We love getting out and about the city.

Top 5 Must-Have Summer Toys (+WIN them)!

Summer is finally here and this is what we survived the Polar Vortex for. Don’t let sun and warm weather slip past you without making a “bucket list” to ensure your family has a fun-filled summer. Whether that list includes hitting our many Chicago beaches, backyard barbecues, or visiting one of the many water-slashing Chicago Parks,  I’ve got my “bucket list” of toys that will make it an unforgettable summer!


Zorbz Self Sealing Water Balloons

Just pinch for a second after fi...

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 5:00 PM by Katherine McHenry

Top Tips for Creating a Smooth Christmas Day

It's finally here--the day of magic, and presents, and wonderment about whether the stories from the North Pole are true. Parents have been planning for months or hurriedly putting it all together and adjusting it daily based on their kids' fantastical stories of what Santa is going to bring them. Everyone has great expectations for Christmas Day. You may be setting yourself for some breakdowns if you're not prepared. We put so much energy and high hopes into this holiday, it's hard to liv...

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

Top 5 Stocking Stuffers/Hanukkah gifts of 2014!

The holidays are upon us and we know you probably haven't even begun to think about those smaller gifts for Hanukkah or for your kiddo's stocking. No worries, we've done all the reserach and have five amazing gifts that'll cost you next to nothing. 


1. Don't deny it. Your kids aren't over Frozen yet. Check out these Frozen Bling Necklaces. 

2. Have yourself a Nano Christmas with this Holiday HEXBUG Nano. This limited edition Nano sports a pair of antlers and pulls Santa's ...

Posted on December 04, 2014 at 6:26 PM by Katherine McHenry

Time to Plan Family Game Night & Giveaway

Whether your child is getting ready for a playdate or the 1st day of school, games are a great way for families to come together and keep brain cells active at any age.  It is never too soon to plan a family game night and it never gets old.  Here are my game picks to make any family game night fun and keep those noodles sharp.  PLUS GIVEAWAY NEWS!!! Leave a comment below and tell us what is your child's favorite game OR your childhood pick by Mon. Aug. 27 - we will announce (1) randomly s...

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

Parent-Approved Hot New Toys for a BBQ Playdate

Summer is in full force and what a blazingly hot one is has been. It's the time of the year for fireworks, waterparks and good American traditions like picnics and barbeques. Having a BBQ isn't fun without inviting your besties or your neighbors over to marvel over grillmaster's skills with the open flame. Cold beers keep big kids happy while new toys can make any backyard party exciting for little kids.  PLUS - Comment below and tell us what food your family loves to throw on the grill by...

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

Parent-Approved Fun! 5 Outdoor Toy Picks

The weather has been a bit of a tease for spring - but serious outdoor fun is coming soon!  Get ready for lots of playtime all over Chicago with these parent-approved outdoor toy picks!  Visit the toy experts at Building Blocks Toy Stores, in Lakeview and Wicker Park, to help you find the perfect outdoor toy for your child or an upcoming birthday party. 

PLUS GIVEAWAY NEWS! Tell us about your favorite outdoor toy - just leave a comment below to get entered.  On Monday May 21 we will an...

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

Toy Picks for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

When planning a trip with your kiddos by air, sea, or lots of roads, all parents need to think about their "bag of tricks"!  Here is a list of 5 parent-approved toy picks to make your adventures a whole lot less stressful:

#1. Squeeze Rockets.  Launch these soft, safe foam rockets by squeezing air from the hand-held bulb. It's fun to pop them around the car or run after the rockets in motion. These are super light to pack and a big suprise for when you arrive!

#2. Key Crayons.  Nev...

Posted on April 19, 2012 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

5 Parent-Approved Easter Basket Goodies

As parents, we all want our little ones to enjoy the holidays but we also try to do it without the sugar fix.  Here are 5 picks for your Easter Basket stuffing that keep the big-time sweets out and keep all of the fun in!

#1) Hide 'em & Find 'em Eggs - A fun interactive easter egg hunt. hide the egg and turn it on. The egg talks and giggles just enough to keep little ones looking for the treasure.

#2) Little Dover Book of Tattoos - What kid doesn't love temporary tattoos? This ...

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

Hot Hot Hot - What's new in toy land for 2012

Fantastic new toys keep popping up on Building Blocks Toys Store shelves! I truly have the best job.  It is always great to play with the classics like slinkys, jacks, tiddleywinks, and marbles.  But here is just a sampling of the newest 2012 play friends:

Playmobil is perfect pretend-play for older children.  Lots of detailed parts for hours of imagination, storytelling, and group or individual playtime.  The western series is sure to be a big hit this year.

Just in time for Valen...

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 7:00 AM by Katherine McHenry

10 Reasons to Take Your Little Ones to ChiTAG

Come out and play! ChiTAG, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, is two days of unforgettable fun for all ages - hands on play time, Star Wars Breakfast, stage events, life-sized toys & games, contests galore, costumed characters and so much more.

Plan your visit to ChiTAG this weekend (Nov. 19 & 20 @ Navy Pier).  Download and bring your special access pass just for NPN Families - just $10 for a Family Ticket (normally $30 for a family of 4!).  PLUS enjoy early 9am access Sunday Nov. ...

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 8:00 AM by Katherine McHenry