The adult in me knows that imaginative play is important for a child's development.

The father in me loves seeing my 2-year-old Hank explore the world as a firefighter, doctor or superhero. It's easy to forget all my adult stress and deadlines when his eyes light up in play and pretend.

The TreeHouse Toy Store is one of our favorite places to go, especially when Hank needs some one-on-one time since our second son was born Aug. 31. On our most recent trip, Mr. Dave, who owns the store with his wife Gaetana, showed Hank some superhero gear:

Hank found four things in the special toy box:

1) A Spiderman/Batman reversible cape.

TreeHouse Toy Store

2) Spiderman/Batman reversible hood.

TreeHouse Toy Store

3) Spiderman/Batman reversible mask.

TreeHouse Toy Store

4) Zap the Super Hero Sockette Puppet.

TreeHouse Toy Store

Zap had a little squeaker in his tongue, which makes him fun for younger children.

Bill Dubiel, Townsquare Media

As I parent living in the age of big box stores and Amazon, I love the neighborhood feel Gaetana and David have cultivated at The TreeHouse Toy Store since they opened it in 1996. Their shop is a reflection of both their talents: Gaetana hand-picks all the toys with an eye for ones that spark children's creativity and imagination, while Dave (who enjoys both woodworking and math) handles the financial side of the business and has built all the displays, including the large bucket-filled counters.

They wanted kids of all ages to be able to explore The TreeHouse as if they were in an actual treehouse with fun things to discover around every corner and cool toys tucked into every nook. They created a shop where kids could come with their allowance and always feel like they could find something new and fun.

Bill Dubiel, Townsquare Media

They also have a full-service website (including in-store pickup — or “TreeHouse Take-Out” as it’s called), TreeHouse Loyalty Club, shipping services, wishlists and good old-fashioned customer service.

If you want to give your kids a special treat, SHOP LOCAL! I highly recommend you visit The TreeHouse Toy Store at 793 Elmwood Ave. (at corner of Auburn in the Elmwood Village) or call them at 888-882-1322.