Never heard of a toy library before? Whether you’re curious and intrigued or just ready to get started with your membership, here are our top 20 tips for making the most out of our toy library.
- Check in often. We carefully select all the toys and games that go into our library to make sure they’re learning-based, inclusive and most certainly fun! Our collection is constantly changing and growing, so you’ll find something new and different each time.
- Plan for the weather. Anyone living in New England knows there is no predicting the weather! We’ve noticed that our savviest members strategically borrow items that help broaden their options for dealing with whatever the weather might bring. For example, consider borrowing a water or sensory table along with a board game or puzzle to diversify your options for play.
- Go big! Look, we live in and around Boston. We get that most of us probably don’t have enough space or a desired permanent space for those bigger developmental toys that most kids lose their minds over. Enter, The Toyary. Use us to give your kid the bouncing trampoline, self-propelling PlasmaCar, Pikler triangle and climbing arch of their dreams. Then, like their fantastically evolving attention spans, just move on to your next toy loan.
- Go “small” too. In addition to our larger items, we take a lot of care to curate a learning-based, inclusive-focused collection of all sizes of toys, games and play experiences. Don’t just focus on the larger items or you’ll risk losing sight of some real gems like our special musical instruments, building sets, and pretend play gear. Did we mention we have MANY 150-count bags of Mega Bloks for the taking? (That’s probably enough for your little one(s) to recreate your entire house in doll scale.)
- Tell us what you want. We maintain an ongoing toy wishlist that we use to inform additions to our library. If you have something in mind that you’d like us to add, please just let us know. The more members who have expressed an interesting in something, the greater of a priority it becomes.
- Consider us a resource. Everything from the item descriptions on our site to our blog posts are focused on supporting and enabling better ways to play. Each toy and game listed in our collection includes a description featuring its developmental benefits and play/usage recommendations. At the same time, our blog will keep you updated on fun seasonal ideas, local featured toy makers, and other play-friendly opportunities.
- Share your experiences with us. While The Toyary ramps up and beyond, it matters immensely that we hear your feedback about what’s working and what’s not for you. As early members of this initiative, your feedback will help shape it! We also just love to see how our members and their families are enjoying their borrowing experiences.
- Try before you buy. Helping to minimize toy waste and drive more sustainable play is one of the key pillars of our mission. While we encourage you to let us know if there’s a toy you’d like added to our library, we also encourage you to use our items to trial a toy you might be interested in buying more permanently. If you (or a little one) simply cannot part with an item you’ve borrowed, let us know and we can usually negotiate a better deal for you.
- Spread the word! We’re taking care to grow our membership on pace with our toy library collection. The more folks who are aware of and interested in this new (old) way of toy lending, the faster our collection can grow! While we’re launching in Melrose, MA, we are currently assessing other locations for our Toy Share Days and we’d love to hear from you about where you’d like us to go next.
- Keep us in mind as you declutter. Children grow up quickly! Please consider donating or selling new, like-new and gently loved toys, games and puzzles to our collection. We’ve found that most kids are very pleased to know their toys will be loved by many others in a toy library capacity, and it pleases us to help keep them out of landfills and in good homes!
- Meet our other members. Our Toy Share Days and Facebook and Instagram platforms are a great opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers with children in an age range similar to yours. As working parents, parents who’ve been on leave with kids, and parents who’ve stayed at home, we immensely value the power of community.
- Make it a play party! Whether it’s due to Covid-19 safety or weather, there are many reasons to celebrate a special occasion in your home or yard. While our memberships allow for up to three (3) loans at a time, you don’t need to stop there. For a small additional fee, consider a larger, more curated or themed party pack of toys and games to fit with the next festivity you have in mind. Just reach out to us to discuss options.
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