How to be the coolest aunt or uncle: Hip kids’ gift and toy stores in Astoria, Corona, and Elmhurst

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    Before heading to your next kiddie birthday party, stop by one of these shops in Queens for unique toys and gifts that won’t be the same as what your young friends already have, or what everyone else just saw on the shelves at Toys“R”Us.

    MGS World/Morning Glory in Flushing is your go-to spot for adorable Asian stationery and back-to-school items. Earning love from a Hello Kitty enthusiast is easy with a trip to this store—plus you can browse through the mini origami paper, sticky notes in various shapes, chopstick sets, Angry Birds memorabilia, and plenty of creative stocking stuffer/party favor-type ideas that you never even knew existed. (GMAP)

    SITE in Astoria offers colorful, design-minded items for everyone from babies to teenagers to adults. You could pick up a wooden stir fry or sushi playset, a circus-themed rubber stamp set, a cheerful picture frame made of colored pencils, or a onesie declaring your baby’s love of Astoria.

    Mackenzi, the eco-minded owner, tends to go for toys that are not battery operated and are made of natural materials like wood. (GMAP)

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    The Science Shop at the New York Hall of Science museum in Corona is surely one of the borough’s coolest stores. Where else can you get a flying alarm clock, space food, an astronaut bib, spy gear, a spa chemistry set, and a giant plush microbe? If you don’t have time to get your learn on in the museum, just tell the ticket taker that you only want to visit the store and he’ll let you in. Queens Mamas says there are plenty of other local museum gift shops worth visiting, too. (GMAP)

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    The LEGO Store in Elmhurst has everything your little friend needs for a building mission, minus the jacked-up Manhattan prices. This branch is a smaller neighborhood store, not a touristy flagship location, so it may not have the huge, flashy displays, but it still has rare sets, “Pick-A-Brick” options, and a super-friendly staff. Legos are timeless, so they’re a gift that never goes out of style. (GMAP)

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