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Smart Parenting

Practical advice about raising children

Donating Toys in Unexpected Places

How did Silver Surfer get trapped in a bag on our window sill? And why is he so desperate to escape?

Silver Surfer toy

It's a convoluted tale that began at the Northwest Denver Toy Library. We're fortunate that the toy library is in the basement of our closest Denver Public Library branch. We make it there a few times a month, and the kids each choose two or three toys to check out. Sam usually chooses something that complements his own toys, like the police station below. Isabel always chooses the noisiest toys, with our blessing, since we'll be able to return them in three weeks.

Sam playing with toy police station 

toy piano 

The concept of a toy library exemplifies the idea of playing well with others. Our toy library has been a free resource for Denver families since 1980, and it’s always run and stocked by volunteers. We're usually there on Saturdays, and inevitably run into someone we know. Kids and parents end up playing, talking and building community.

Sam has recently decided to let go of a few of his toys, in order to make room for more Legos, Trashies and Nanospeeds. The toys that he's willing to donate are small, and generally plastic, but for him it's a great start in the process of letting go. You can see that SpongeBob isn't sold on the idea of leaving his happy home.

SpongeBob toy 

The problem is that SpongeBob can't move to the toy library. Donated toys that aren't brand-new, must include proof that they meet federal safety standards. SpongeBob and all of his friends don't have papers, so we've come up with another option. In the tradition of The Toy Society, we're going to start leaving the toys at playgrounds, parks and other spots where a toy might come in handy. We decided to wrap the toys in bags marked "Free Toys" so the finders won’t hesitate to take possession. We’ve been making the bags from old t-shirts, and writing on them with permanent marker, in the hope that they’ll survive all types of weather conditions. We’re looking forward to hiding and sharing many toys during the next few weeks.

Do you have any creative locations, where Silver Surfer and SpongeBob might find appreciative new owners? 

Elise Roth EdwardsElise Roth Edwards writes, paints, makes stuff, and asks a lot of questions in Denver, with the help of her two kids, her husband, and a growing crowd of friends and neighbors. You can read more about their experiments and adventures at her ever-evolving parenting blog, The Family Lab for Inquiry and Play

7/15/2014 8:57:28 AM

When it is time to get up and deliver your speech make sure that you look around the room when welcoming everyone to the celebration of your son and his new wife. When you mention your wife, look at her. The same goes when you mention your son, the bride, and her parents. As you are giving your speech do not keep your head down but look around. Keep your voice strong and clear, do not mumble. Most of the speeches are given at the reception and you may or may not have a microphone you can use to give your speech. Do not scrape your chair back or do it quickly. Slowly slide your chair back and stand up slowly. You do not want to have your chair for over and make a loud noise. If you are using index cards with highlighted notes or have the entire speech on them do not yank them out of your pocket because they could get away from you and fly all over the place. Again, do not read off the cards because that is kind of rude. It is okay to glance down at your cards to make sure that you are speaking all the heart felt things you want to say to your son and his new wife. After wrapping up it would be okay to give a short toast to the new couple. You have already given a five minute speech so you could give a toast and say “Here is to my son and new daughter as they start on another chapter of their life. May the chapter be filled with lots of love and happiness.” Make sure that you say their names and not son and new daughter. Once you have given a toast it is time to sit down and let someone else give their speech. As you do not know what everyone’s religious preference is it would not be advisable to offer a prayer at the end of your speech. You do not want to offend anyone. Do not wait until the last minute to write your father of the groom speech because if you are rushed you may not remember everything you want to say. You can also keep a notebook where you can jot down ideas of what you want to say and then take these ideas to write your speech.

zoe fronheiser kroll
2/21/2013 7:22:56 PM

What a wonderful Idea! and How thoughtful!