4 Kids Books & Toys
Zionsville Shop Offers Plenty of Family-Friendly Events
Writer / Megan Jefferson
Photographer / Erik Coser
In 2002, Cynthia Compton had a corporate job that required a tremendous amount of travel, and she had just given birth to her fourth child. She wanted to start a business so she could spend more time at home. During this time, she was buying a lot of children’s books to entertain her kids. This naturally led to her having an interest in opening a children’s bookstore.
“I began looking at the kinds of things that I bought for my own children and I wanted to carry those things in the store,” Compton says. “I wanted to have half children’s books and half toys, they complement each other very well, because to children, books and reading are just another form of play. It didn’t make sense to draw a line between the two.”
In 2003, Compton and her husband opened 4 Kids Books & Toys in a location on 86th Street. They soon needed more space, so they moved to their current location in Zionsville in 2009 with double the amount of space and an event room.
The important aspect that sets 4 Kids Books & Toys apart from other toy stores is their event schedule. They provide programming every day of the week at 10:30 a.m. On Mondays, they offer “Paint a Story” — story time with an experiential art session for preschoolers. They may create artwork inspired by the style of the illustrator or use themes-related to the book. In any case, Mondays involve a very messy art activity. On Tuesdays, they have “Stories and Snacks,” which is a more traditional story time.
Wednesdays offer “Stories and Play,” where a story is read and then the kids are taught some fundamentals of playing games — taking turns, rolling dice and counting spaces. On Thursdays, 4 Kids presents “Silly Songs and Stories,” which combines reading with music — Kids can play rhythm instruments, sing and dance. The local Gymboree franchise from Carmel holds their art class at the store on Fridays, so members of Gymboree can come to 4 Kids instead of having to drive up to Carmel. On Saturdays, “Paint a Story” is offered again for parents or caregivers who may not be able to make it to the event during the week. Birthday parties are held on Sundays.
Except for the Gymboree class of Fridays and birthday parties, programming at 4 Kids is offered free of charge and does not require reservations.
“The idea is that caregivers or parents and their preschool children can just come and have automatic playgroup,” Compton says. “It’s particularly nice when the weather is like this and you’re just stir crazy and you need 30 minutes to go do something fun before lunch, nap, grocery store or other errands.”
Compton’s favorite thing about owning the store is running the hands-on activities with the kids and discussing books with young readers. She feels fortunate to be located in a community where people value shopping local and are willing to make an extra stop to support her business.
“Because we provide so many events and experiences, we become friends with our customers, and we are part of their weekly social schedule,” Compton says. “We get to participate in kid’s lives from the time they learn to walk to the time that they go off to school and then college. Many of my employees have grown up in my store. I’m grateful to be in such a supportive community.”
4 Kids Books & Toys is located at 4450 Weston Pointe Dr. in Zionsville. You can visit them online at 4kidsbooks.net.