Toys are vital to healthy child development—and the type of toy kids play with matters, as does age-appropriate play. But, eventually, the toys can start to pile up (usually on your living room floor), and there are always those that your child seldom plays with. Now, a group of moms in Minneapolis are aiming to reduce toy waste with their toy-lending library.
The Minneapolis Toy Library focuses on toys appropriate for kids up to 5 years old and aims to “reduce waste, promote development and build community.” It houses toys across all categories, including board games, blocks, dramatic play, literacy, math and cognitive, puzzles and sensory. The library also offers kits parents can check out for trips and birthday parties.
The best part? It focuses on toys made a sustainable and eco-friendly way. “We love certain toy makers such as Green Toys, Tegu, Ever Earth, and HAPE to name a few,” the website states, continuing, “If the toys were purchased second hand they are inspected for safety and washed thoroughly before becoming part of our ‘community toy box.’” Memberships range from $40 to $100 a year, but allow members to check out up to five toys at a time for two to four weeks.
The library was started by two moms, Molly Stern and Taryn Tesser, in 2014 after winning a small grant. While the store was initially a mobile program in library meeting rooms, it grew quickly, making it harder for them cart the toys around. Two years later, the library found a permanent home in the Richfield Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Now, the library has more than 500 members, approximately 4,000 toys and is run by Rebecca, Nutter, mom to three young girls, Scary Mommy reports.
The library is always on the lookout for donations, Nutter told the outlet. “We would love more board games and always love dolls, animals, or anything for pretend play,” she said. “We will try to find a way to re-purpose the item or put it into recycling, if possible. We work hard on creating very little toy waste that goes to the landfill.”
If you’re looking to declutter your kids’ toys at the start of this new year, consider giving the items that are still in good condition a second life by donating them.