Mother Earth Living

Smart Parenting

Practical advice about raising children

Donating Toys in Unexpected Places

2/7/2013 10:08:00 AM

Tags: family, toys, parenting, Elise Roth Edwards

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



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Zoe Fronheiser Kroll
2/21/2013 7:22:56 PM
What a wonderful Idea! and How thoughtful!



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