Photo by Tony Valainis
ON THE FAMILY-FRIENDLIER side of Broad Ripple, north of the alcohol-soaked strip, Monon Toys and Crafts opened this year with fine playthings not easily found in Indiana. Proprietor Alla Kapchunova didn’t have many toys when she was young, but she cherished a collection of teddy bears that kept her company during the long Russian winters of her childhood. Now a psychologist raising her own kids in Indianapolis, she struggled to find high-quality, intentionally educational toys and ultimately decided to source and sell them herself. You won’t find plastic trinkets in her shop of international curiosities, but rather low-tech and eco-friendly finds like stuffed animals woven with organic materials and chemical-free silicone teethers. One bookshelf showcases Russian fairytales and delicate laser-cut books, while another display is dedicated to hands-on crafts that families can enjoy together. Kapchunova’s favorite item is a multi-story treehouse fit for small figurines, big imaginations, and generational longevity.