So your child has outgrown his toys. There just doesn’t seem to be enough space in his room for his birthday gift toys. How about the basement or attic? Is there space there to pack up and store his toys?
Rather than going the “hoarders” route or the “wasteful throw it away” path, how about trying the recycle option? Are you aware that there are children who would love to play with your child’s discarded toys? Your child’s old toys are another child’s new toys! Of course, this article refers to your child’s toys that are in good, playable condition, not broken. While these toys are used, they are also in a condition which will allow them to be used again. I am not referring to broken toys, Trucks with two wheels missing, dolls with limbs missing, or puzzles with pieces missing do not qualify!
Once you identify that your child no longer plays with a particular toy, why not take advantage of this occasion to encourage your child to be generous by donating the toy to a good cause? You might be pleasantly surprised to find that your child will be more than willing to part with an outgrown toy, knowing that other little girls and boys would be delighted to receive the toy. Your child might actually come to you on his own and let you know of other toys he’d like to share with other children.
So, now that you have an outgrown toy (or better yet, a pile of outgrown toys!) where do you donate it/them?
Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Other Charity Stores
When you give to an organization like Goodwill or Salvation Army, you are almost giving twice! You not only get the satisfaction of knowing that your child’s toy is going to be enjoyed by another child, but you also get the satisfaction of knowing that the charity employs people to run the organization.
Of course, the public library system is a great place for children to be exposed to books. But did you know that many libraries also have “toy check-outs”? These toy check-outs work the same way book check-outs work. And they are great, free ways for your child to experience new toys and puzzles. Donating your child’s toy to your local library is great even if your library doesn’t have a toy check-out. Your library probably has a children’s section which has a toy box of some sort.
A great way to recycle your child’s unwanted toys is to donate them to the children’s ward at your local hospital. When children are in the hospital for long or short stays, it’s always nice for them to have access to new (to them!) toys.
Places like Boys’ Town or Ronald McDonald Houses are great recipients of used toys. Because of the many children who reside in these places, it seems like they could always be in need of more toys.
Your child might enjoy giving his unwanted toys to his school. Classes for Special Needs children are often in need of developmental toys that can be used to teach different skills. And with all the budget cuts that school districts are experiencing, recycled toys would be greatly appreciated!
Family Shelters and Battered Women’s Shelters
Homeless shelters are very worthy recipient of toys. Children living in shelters are already feeling the anguish associated with not having a home of their own. Your child’s unwanted toys could make a big difference to these children. Remember that your child’s old toys will be new toys to other children!
High School and College Day Cares
A lot of high schools and colleges have day care drop-offs for parents who are students. Donating your child’s unwanted toys to these day cares guarantees that your child’s toys will either be used at the day care or given to a child in need of toys.
More and more organizations are having “White Elephant Sales” so that they can donate the proceeds to worthy charities. These rummages benefit organizations that need funding. What better place to donate your child’s unwanted toys!
Local Pediatricians Office
It is not uncommon to go to a waiting room in a pediatrician’s office and see bored children. Parents should always take books and small toys with them to their child’s doctor’s appointments, but the majority do not. Pediatrician’s waiting rooms are yet another place that would benefit from your child’s unwanted toys.
Perhaps your child has outgrown some of his toys and would like to save his money so that he can get a new toy or two. While this instance is not quite like donating/giving away the toy, it is a good time to teach your child the skills of saving and recycling. Rather than your child simply throwing away his unwanted toy, he can help sell his toys at a garage sale and then save up his money.
This article has (hopefully) given you some ideas of places you could recycle your child’s gently used, unwanted toys. Remember that the toy may be old to its current owner, but to another boy or girl it will be a new toy. By recycling your child’s toy, everyone wins. Your child can experience generosity, the new recipient will get hours of playing, and even the environment will benefit as less toys will make their ways to landfills.