How does a kid who loves playing outside kick a soccer ball almost as big as he is?

With two toy swords, if he's my oldest son. He got some good distance giving it a shove and a kick at the same time, too.

We brought 9-month-old Theodore with us on our latest trip to The TreeHouse Toy Store, where Mr. Dave had a jumbo bounce soccer ball waiting for Hank in his special toy box. We've made a bit of a family tradition out of visiting The TreeHouse Toy Store since Hank became a big brother, and I have to admit, I enjoy seeing Hank's reactions to new toys just as much as he enjoys discovering them.

I love the neighborhood feel Gaetana and David have cultivated at The TreeHouse Toy Store since they opened it in 1996. 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.

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. 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 created a shop where kids could come with their allowance and always feel like they could find something new and fun.

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

As a special treat, get $5 off your purchase online or in the store with the code HANK5 through June 10.

And don't forget: 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.