Christmas Toys and Catalogues… EVERYWHERE!
Normally at this time of year, letterboxes are brimming with catalogues, all of which are filled with Christmas Toys. Every one of these advertises the Hot or Must Have items for kids at Christmas. But this year, just like the last, I am keeping the purchase of toys to a minimum. Instead, we are Giving the Gift of Play to my kids, with a renewed membership to their Toy Library.
Most people who know me personally, also know I am a passionate member of my local toy library. Since joining our toy library a few years ago, we have slowly begun owning less and less toys, and loaning more toys from the library. The toys we own now, are also either exact copies of what they have loaned repeatedly from the library, or something similar. And for us this year, Christmas Toys tend to be lower on the boys wish lists.
Are The Toys Clean?
I will be the first to admit I was hesitant about joining a toy library. The idea of my kids bringing a toy into our home, which some other kid had only just borrowed and sneezed, coughed or vomited on wasn’t appealing. But the toys are all in a good, very clean condition. What is more, something I noticed was the level of quality of the toys, is higher than what I would normally have at home. A lot of the Christmas Toys my kids have received in recent years as gifts have broken, or they have lost interest in. Whereas the higher quality toy library items are standing the test of time.
The variety of toys I seen at my library is remarkable. Our toy library has many of the toys you would find in a lot of toy shops and current Christmas Toy catalogues, but the majority of what I see is the types of toys I wouldn’t normally have access to. This is usually due to the cost, size or uniqueness of the toy.
Toys Are So Cheap Now, Why Bother?
Toys at our library tend to be made of stronger quality, more expensive materials. The logic I have been told behind this, is that the toys need to be of an above average strength, this is because they need to last the test of time, and are played with constantly. Unlike toys at home, which are often set aside and forgotten for months at a time.
The size of toys at the library is one of the big reasons I joined. Items such as the Little Tikes Cozy Coupes are always popular with my boys, but the actual size of them is off-putting when it comes to owning. Being able to loan one for a few weeks and returning it once they have grown bored of it, means my home isn’t full of oversized or unnecessary stuff. That’s not to say they don’t have average or even small sized toys available either, but it is these larger toys that I have always struggled with when it comes to storage in the long term, at home.
Toy Libraries tend to also seek out toys that most families wouldn’t already have at home. My local toy library selects its toys with the help of committee members. Committee members who have a background in childcare or childhood development. This means that the toys available are not only just for fun, but also teaches them unknowingly, in cause and effect, develops their fine motor skills and imagination.
Overall we have less clutter in our home. When we buy a toy, it’s usually because it is something similar to what the boys have loaned repeatedly. Knowing we are buying a tried and tested toy, there’s no hit and miss regarding if it will be liked.
Toy library membership is such an affordable option. At $40 a year, the cost is nominal in comparison to what we have spent in previous years on Christmas Toys. It certainly makes giving the gift of play a wonderful option for my family.
To find a toy library nearest to your location. Go to the Toy Libraries Australia Website Library Locator