People are starting to realize that sharing might be the best solution to society’s overconsumption habit. That’s why we are seeing things like tool lending libraries, car sharing companies, clothing swaps, and carpool apps gaining popularity. You might actually be surprised at all the different items people are sharing nowadays.
For example, did you know that toy libraries are a thing? Just like a regular library with books, toy libraries allow you to check out and borrow toys to bring home. The toys in a toy library are carefully selected, ensuring that there are plenty to choose from for all ages and abilities! Whether you are looking for play mats for a baby or Lego blocks for an older child, toy libraries are likely to have it all.
And of course, the toys are cleaned and kept in good condition so that they offer each new child a fun and safe play experience.
How toy libraries work
Many toy libraries will charge a small annual or monthly fee that allows you to take out a few toys whenever you want. Each library will have a different policy regarding how long you can take a toy out for, but 2-3 weeks is usually the norm. Similarly, the number of toys you can take out at once will differ from place to place.
Toy libraries are great ways to cut down costs to parents and grandparents. It is no secret that toys are expensive – and the kicker is that children tend to lose interest very quickly. In many cases, the novelty of a new toy will wear off and the toy will end up collecting dust or buried at the bottom of the toybox. This isn’t financially sustainable at all. And the environmental impact of the toy industry is extremely significant.
Considering that most children’s toys are made out of plastic that persists in the environment, it's important to look at how we can purchase less and share more. Yes, we absolutely want children to have access to toys, but it’s just not necessary to accumulate so many toys in one household. The great thing about toy libraries is that when a child loses interest, all you have to do is return the toy so that another lucky child can get a turn.
On the other hand, if your child has fallen in love with a particular toy, you can always go out and purchase one to own. Think of toy libraries as a sustainable way to test out a toy before purchasing!
In the end, Toy Libraries can also help to teach kids about sharing and the unwanted impact of over-consumption.
Benefits of play
Toys are great tools for encouraging play, and play is a crucial component of children’s development. While many people think of schools as the place where children do most of their learning, playing might actually be better in some cases.
Children begin playing from a very young age and continue to play throughout their childhood, learning new things about themselves and the world they live in along the way.
There are various types of play which are very important for children to engage in. Physical play, any type of play that gets a child moving, is important for improving gross motor skills, building muscles, and sharpening reflexes. It is through creative play that children are able to gain confidence, fine motor skills, cognitive skills, and of course, express their creativity.
Imaginative play is another type of play that helps children develop their language and communication skills, as well as their physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills.
Unfortunately, with the rise of the iPad and handheld electronic devices, there has been a decrease in the amount of time children spend playing with toys or other children. So what better way to encourage more play than with access to a library full of toys that inspire a variety of play methods? This is certainly important as we aim to give children play time away from screens.
Toy libraries are more than buildings that lend out toys – they are places for community members to gather and get to know each other. Just like many book libraries have workshops and events for children, toy libraries often have similar programs that focus on play.
This is a great way for children to socialize and engage in cooperative play, allowing them to develop their social and language skills. They might even make a lifelong friend! And of course, workshops and events are a great way for parents to meet and connect. Parenting can be quite isolating at times, and it's very helpful to have some community connections.
Even if a play program isn’t currently available, toy libraries are meant to be fun places where children are encouraged to play. Children, along with their caregivers, can be found in the aisles testing out and playing with different toys, making the most of their trip to the toy library!
It is also important to acknowledge how lower income families can benefit from toy libraries. In many families, purchasing toys is a lower priority, as other needs must be met first. However, play is an essential part of a child’s life, and a variety of toys to play with is always beneficial for the development of children. Toy libraries are a great way to ensure play needs are met without having to break the bank.
Keep an eye out for a toy library near you if you have a child in your life or are looking for a way to support these great establishments through toy or monetary donations! I have a few toys in my basement that are heading to a newly established toy library in my area for more kids to enjoy!
Another way to lessen the impact on the environment is to start hosting Green Birthday Parties for kids. Do you need more ideas on how to support and raise eco-friendly kids? Get in touch with me through the contact form on the website or book a call, I would love to help you out with more practical resources and ideas!
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