Over the past year I've been lucky enough to help our local Kansas Parents as Teacher (KPATA) coordinator, Melissa, plan out play dates in our town. Kids ranging from 0-5 come into her PAT (Parents as Teachers) room in an old high school building and do all kinds of stuff! We play games, read stories, sing songs, do art projects usually following a different theme every month but Melissa is awesome and has so much energy! She does different things every month! We are just gearing up for another year since we haven't met since November.
While Melissa has tons of energy, her position is time consuming She is always traveling for many play groups in our area and has a couple rooms in this old school building to store things but has never had boxes or shelves to put them on. It's kind of become a dumping off spot for her before she takes off to the next town and the next group of kids.
So this last week she and I have been digging through two rooms worth of stuff; cleaning, organizing, and throwing away. Toys, games, puzzles, blocks, art supplies, Little Tikes toys (that I drool over), manipulatives, books...all this stuff that ranges in age appropriateness from birth to kindergarten.
She has so. much. stuff.
As we've been cleaning and going through stuff she was kind enough to let me borrow anything I wanted to! This is only a few of the things I've brought home. It's been great because we've gotten new toys that all my kids are interested in (and it's gotten them away from the tv) and I haven't had to shell out a bunch of money for new toys and games. Plus Melissa has some great DURABLE toys and games you can't find at the local WalMart. I HATE spending money on a toy or game that breaks easily or doesn't work. (Like Elefun. Hate that game. It doesn't work. Don't buy it!)
Wasn't Christmas only a month ago? How many of your kids aren't playing with their presents anymore. It's true with some of my kids' toys. I've heard the advice to rotate toys around so your kids won't get tired of them. My problem is I don't have the time/space to do that or if I do when I bring them around my kids have out grown certain toys in a short amount of time and don't want them anymore.
Wouldn't it be awesome to have a TOY library? (Not Goodwill where everything is broken!) A place where any parent or child can go into and check out a game or toy and bring it home for a couple weeks before they have to return it! Just like a library but with toys/games instead of books.
How many problems would that solve? Parents wouldn't have to spend money buying new toys that their kids may or may not like. A toy library would be giving low income families the opportunity to enjoy high quality toys and games! Toys could be rotated as your kids outgrow them, especially for toddlers! Just like recommending a great book to a friend, parents could recommend great toys to other parents.
I'm not sure if or how someone could even get a Toy Library started. I don't live in one location long enough to start one myself or I'd figure it out.
That's what I wish for though, a toy library. That would be awesome.