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A toy library is a place where parents and caretakers can take children to borrow educational toys, puzzles, games and materials. Children can visit to use these materials at the library, much like a playroom. The goal of a toy library is to support families and encourage family playtime, but the concept itself is one that promotes sustainability and social benefits to cities. Toy libraries are an environmental boon too. It provides little ones with regular toy variety and range and prevents wastefulness at home- visiting them helps parents from having to accumulate so many toys that kids don’t need or use regularly. Still not convinced? Below, we share 5 reasons why every city should have a toy library and why they’re so brilliant.
1. They Save Toys From Landfills & Oceans
Children can quickly get bored of a certain toy, and want a new one once they do. And even if not, children will eventually grow out of them as they age. Especially since many toys are made out of plastic, tossing them out contributes to ocean plastic pollution, contaminating waterways with microplastics and adding to our overflowing landfills where they may never fully break down. Not to mention that plastics require fossil fuels to manufacture, generating global greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change. With the toy industry hitting billions of dollars worth of sales and showing no signs of slowdown, we must become aware about how playthings can impact our environment negatively. Toy libraries present a great solution where toys can be continually recycled.
2. They Are Budget-Friendly
Using a toy library is incredibly wallet-friendly. With a huge variety of items available in most toy libraries, children can play with different materials every time they visit, which can satisfy any easily-bored child. Parents save money with this process, as it rids the need to purchase new items on the constant.
3. They Help Save Space & Declutter Unwanted Toys From Your Home
Not to mention, thanks to using a toy library, you can save tons of space in your home. Cities are notorious for their small living spaces and cramped apartments, especially here in Asia. A study last year by local think tank Civic Exchange revealed that the average open space each Hong Konger has is two square metres, equivalent to a toilet cubicle. Ridding your flat of the need to dedicate an entire corner for toys would no doubt be welcomed by most families just for the extra space alone. In addition, it’s a great opportunity for families to do a declutter and donate all their preloved toys that are still in good condition.
4. They Offer An Ideal Social & Knowledge Sharing Space For Children
Cities have a bad rap for the lack of a sense of community for most people. In a 2016 survey, 75% of adults believe that children feel a lesser sense of community in urban areas than they themselves did during their childhood. Not only would visiting toy libraries encourage a sharing mentality amongst children in their early developmental years, many libraries have a playroom-like space where children can socialise amongst their peers and learn through interaction.
5. They Can Help Parents Learn Too
A toy library is a concept that builds on top of what we already know about conventional book libraries. Libraries are a place where knowledge is shared – toy libraries add in play and offer adults an opportunity to learn about the different developmental phases that children go through. The time parents and carers spend at toy libraries is also a chance to get to know other parents and families in the community or even create a parental support network.
Lead image courtesy of Ithaca Voice.