Toy libraries

Abi Reid baking away,  reducing food waste across South Yorkshire
Abi Reid
11 Aug 2023

Toy libraries are a phenomenon that are going from strength to strength with both online and physical libraries popping up across the UK. 


The idea is simple, you borrow toys that suit your child’s age or developmental stage and when they outgrow them simply return the toys and exchange them for something else.

Picture of children's wooden train set with train, track and trees. Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

Most toy libraries charge a membership fee though some just charge a fee for the items you borrow however when your child, their tastes and their toys change rapidly it saves you space and money compared to buying everything as they grow.


Toy libraries are growing in appeal for a number of reasons:

  • Price - they are usually cheaper than buying all the toys brand new so appeal to the cost conscious
  • Space - families who are tight on space enjoy that toys can be returned and swapped without needing to find additional storage space
  • Variety - not sure if your child will like a particular toy or whether it is appropriate to their developmental stage? With a toy library you can simply send it back if it isn't right
  • Waste - for the environmentally conscious you know that toys will go on to another family to enjoy
  • Changing tastes - when your child suddenly goes from loving trucks to adoring animals you can easily change toys that appeal to them
  • Choice - where toy box schemes send you toys based on your child's age a toy library lets you pick individual items 


Why not have a look if you have a toy library near you, they can sometimes be found in community centres, children's centres, libraries etc or there are online toy libraries too such as Whirli.


If you can’t find an official toy library the same principle can be used in a group of friends with children of varying ages by just passing items along as kids move on from them and encouraging children to share and swap toys.

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