By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Aug 25, 2004 at 5:20 AM

According to Robin Lehnert, founder of, parents spend $700 a year on toys, and that doesn't include the money spent on batteries.

Chitty, chitty, cha-ching.

"Only one or two of my entire selection includes batteries," says Lehnert, who was the PR and promotions manager for BRIO for five years and -- still a kid at heart -- started the Web-based toy company last year.

Lehnert's mission is to offer quality, affordable toys that inspire kids to be productive and creative while having fun.

"These toys have a common design element: they allow the child to really use their imagination," she says.

Many of the toys are simple -- Lehnert believes less truly is more when it comes to play items -- such as wooden trucks, handmade dolls with "neutral" faces, puppets, bath toys, lacing cards, potholder looms, butterfly nets and more.

Most of Dot's Toys are well under $100, with many under $20, but Lehnert says she is not sacrificing quality for affordability.

"I am rather selective about the toys I choose," she says. "Our philosophy is to provide something to a child that they control and change in to whatever they want."

Robin's husband John co-owns Dot's Toys. He is also the associate creative director at Bluehorse, Inc., a local advertising and PR firm. The Mequon couple has twin sons who recently graduated from Homestead High School.

According to Robin, children are usually more secure when parents spend time with them playing, learning and discovering, and she suggests that parents make sure the toys they choose and the games they play are age-appropriate. Her fun, colorful site makes this easy to do, allowing visitors to shop for items according to their child's age.

Despite the amusing irony considering she owns a Web company, Lehnert says parents should avoid computer games as long as possible and instead read to their children which is more personal and imaginative.

Plus, parents who interact with their kids have a lot to gain personally, because many believe that childplay is therapeutic for adults.

"It's really not how old you are, but how you feel, right?" says Lehnert.

Dot's Toys Web site is

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.