Toy Library - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 22 Old 02-28-2010, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
lisalu100's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Do any of you currently use, or know of, a toy library?

There is a website called Babyplays.com, which rents out toys on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, according to which toys are in your queue, kind of a netflix for toys. The toys need to be returned to a Fedex office. Also, our local library lends a few toys.

As a part-time business, I am thinking of doing a similar thing as a mobile business. I would take and collect baskets of five toys from your home once a month, in return for a monthly fee. The toys would be cleaned, the children would get more variety than you might otherwise be able to afford, and the house is not cluttered with lots of toys that are no longer played with.

Would you use this service? How much would you pay?

Thanks mamas, for either stopping me spending more time exploring this idea, or inspiring me to start my own business...
lisalu100 is offline  
#2 of 22 Old 02-28-2010, 05:54 PM
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's a cool idea but I'm not sure how many moms would go for it. The way I see it, you have 2 groups of people: those who only want brand-new, perfect condition toys for their kids (and would be put off by the IDEA of a toy library) and those who don't mind but would probably rather pay the money to just buy used toys at yard sales/thrift stores/freecycle (I'd be in the latter group). I can't see you making a ton of money doing this -- you'd have to buy the toys, clean them frequently, pay for gas to drive them around, etc. But, you never know, I'm curious if others would be interested in this enough to pay for it! At the very least, I bet you could set up a "toy swap" group with some local moms -- maybe not to make money but just to rotate the toys.

OTOH, I've been struggling to come up with a great WAH part-time job & this is better than any ideas I've come up with, so you could be onto something!

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#3 of 22 Old 02-28-2010, 06:08 PM
 
karemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Hudson Valley NY
Posts: 739
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Most moms I know complain about having too many toys, not a lack of variety.

Between holidays and birthdays the toys keep rolling in, and then there are the hand me downs from neighbors, friends, and family.....

I'm not sure how profitable something like that would be, and the liability seems high with all toy recalls etc.

Good luck if you go for it!
karemore is offline  
#4 of 22 Old 02-28-2010, 09:18 PM
 
Tjej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,581
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think if you were going to do this you'd need to find that niche - like waldorf or montessori toys. Toys that are nice, expensive, durable, and that the "consumers" would tend to be interested in the "less is more" aspect.

I personally like the idea, but have grandparents that keep us eyeball deep in more toys than I know what to do with, so I compromise on my "ideal" toys and whatnot and would not pay to have more toys rotate in.

Tjej
Tjej is offline  
#5 of 22 Old 02-28-2010, 09:31 PM
 
rlandnl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 624
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
we have one a couple towns over, it's actually a nice little place I went there with DS once for a birthday party. I would go there more if it weren't almost an hour away even though we have a ton of toys, but it's nice to have different toys, and it's nice to play with other children.

Nicki wife to Rich, Mama to 7 y/o DS, and a beautiful Princess Aug 2010
rlandnl is offline  
#6 of 22 Old 02-28-2010, 11:25 PM
 
blizzard_babe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Land of Beer and Cheese, baby.
Posts: 4,900
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A work friend and I swap matchbox cars for our boys (they both LOVE toy cars and will be fascinated for hours by a new one, but there's really no need to buy new ones), but that's as far as I'd go. I could never use something like that because... um... toys and toy parts go missing in our house.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
blizzard_babe is offline  
#7 of 22 Old 03-01-2010, 10:23 AM
 
LaughingHyena's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I belonged to one until recently.

Ours was based in a couple of local community centres. You could just turn up and borrow toys but the lady running also ran a playgroup type session. Play for an hour then a drink and song time.

I didn't find it as useful as I though I would, It was great to be able to try toys and see if they really got played with at home. It was also nice for some short lived toys, like a push along walker which I don't think I would have bothered buying.

It was a pain trying to keep the pieces of toys together, the lost brick/whatever under the sofa is more of an issue when you are trying to take stuff back to a library.

I would like to have been able to borrow bigger items like a play kitchen or trampoline, though again it would probably be a try before I buy thing for us.

One thing I did use it for a lot was having neutral toys (ie not my own kids) when we had people round for LLL meetings or birthday parties. Maybe that could be a good angle to sell yourself on.
LaughingHyena is offline  
#8 of 22 Old 03-01-2010, 10:35 AM
 
rlandnl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 624
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I should mention our toy library is also a place for the kids to just play if you don't want to borrow any toys... here's the link to ours... http://www.toylibrarymaine.com/

Nicki wife to Rich, Mama to 7 y/o DS, and a beautiful Princess Aug 2010
rlandnl is offline  
#9 of 22 Old 03-01-2010, 10:38 AM
 
ambersrose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: The Land of Enchantment
Posts: 306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There is a toy library very close to us. It is a community center ran by the school district. It is especially used by grandparents who have visiting grandchildren. You can borrow toys for two weeks and they have all kinds of toys large and small. We have borrowed a few toys to see how we liked them. It is a great service but I dont think it would work as well if it was done as a rental thing.

mother, wife, lover of life.
ambersrose is offline  
#10 of 22 Old 03-01-2010, 09:36 PM
 
waiting2bemommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: buried under laundry
Posts: 1,956
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would LOVE a toy library. However, I wouldn't want the drop-off/pick up aspect of it. What I'd want is a place where I could go and borrow both toys and educational materials, and renew them as needed. Things like riding toys, outside toys, indoor toys, fine motor toys, large group toys/games, etc each in their own section, plus a resource area with parenting books, educational materials like write-on/wipeoff stuff, lakeshore stuff, etc.

You could charge a monthly fee and assign a point value to each item. Then you could charge a monthly fee based on how many points the family wanted per month and how many visits to the center they wanted. Kinda like netflix. So, for example, for $10/month you could get 25 points a month, with 2 exchanges per month, or for $20/month, 60 points and 2 exchanges a month, or for $50/month 125 points and 5 exchanges a month. Something like that. That way, you could make big ticket items (like, say, a climb n slide) worth more than a set of hot wheels cars, or whatever. Also, limiting the number of exchanges, while still having a "due date" on return of items, would make sure that there was always a decent supply of items on hand. and having a point system would make sure that no one family hogged all the good toys.

I probably gave you a much longer answer thatn you were looking for, lol.

Very blessed mama to one bouncin' boy bouncy.gif (12/07) one angel3.gif who didn't get to stay (6/09), one potty learning, mess making divaenergy.gif(4/10), and one cheerful milk monster. aabfwoman.gif (12/11) Happy partner to the love of my lifedp_malesling.GIF.  

waiting2bemommy is offline  
#11 of 22 Old 03-01-2010, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
lisalu100's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you all for your insight. The detailed answers were wonderful! It's just a pipe-dream right now, but I would love to see if I could actually figure it out somehow. The reason I liked the mobile library idea is that it is a way I can start a business little start-up capital or risk. I love the idea of an actual play-area/library, but I don't think it is feasible right now. But who knows...
lisalu100 is offline  
#12 of 22 Old 03-02-2010, 01:12 AM
 
lovingmylife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 66
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I volunteer at a non profit toy library. The fee is 15 dollars a years and that is used for upkeep and purchasing toys. You can check 3 out at a time and they are due in 3 weeks after.
lovingmylife is offline  
#13 of 22 Old 03-05-2010, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
lisalu100's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow, it seems like some of the toy libraries are much cheaper than I would have thought.

I think I'll have to keep thinking, and see if I can come up with a different idea...lol!
lisalu100 is offline  
#14 of 22 Old 03-05-2010, 05:41 PM
 
lonegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto and Sault Ste Marie
Posts: 1,637
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The idea is interesting...wouldn't work for us....He becomes very attached to his stuff. If it comes in then it is near impossible to get it out again. We may be moving this fall and I hope this summer to have a few garage sales and trim all of our "toys"....but we are all attached to our belongings so it will be interesting to see what I manage to get out.

PAT- photosmile2.gif Mommy to a super little boy kid.gif Tyr -Nov 17, 2006 Married to joy.gif Sky -August 28, 1993 
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011  m/c 6w5d  angel.gif
lonegirl is offline  
#15 of 22 Old 03-05-2010, 06:32 PM
 
Letitia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 217
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
We have a local toy library. It used to be through at the YWCA but it just moved and I'm not sure who funds it. It must operate off some grant because it's free. We've really liked checking out large items - play kitchens, washing machines, food sets - those have been the biggest hits. Also tubs of large plastic dinosaurs. It's absolutely great. I hear other families complain about their kids being bored with their toys, and we just haven't experienced that. I think it's because we've tried to minimize the number that we actually own (oh boy is that a hard thing to do), and rotate those.
Letitia is offline  
#16 of 22 Old 03-05-2010, 06:36 PM
 
Grace and Granola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Saint Louis, MO
Posts: 1,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
I think if you were going to do this you'd need to find that niche - like waldorf or montessori toys. Toys that are nice, expensive, durable, and that the "consumers" would tend to be interested in the "less is more" aspect.

I personally like the idea, but have grandparents that keep us eyeball deep in more toys than I know what to do with, so I compromise on my "ideal" toys and whatnot and would not pay to have more toys rotate in.

Tjej

Heather-- I'm a <>< SAHM of two fabulous boys 8/05 and 2/07
Grace and Granola is offline  
#17 of 22 Old 03-22-2010, 12:46 AM
 
Narmowen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Check with your local library. This library (close to me) has a toy library.

http://main.vassarlib.org/index.php?...d=12&Itemid=26

"The purpose of the Toy Library is to provide access for children, as well as their parents and care-givers, to materials that will aid in the social, mental, and physical development, as well as the development of necessary pre-reading skills.
The Toy Library is a collection of toys for children ages 3 to 10 years old. The collection includes games, construction toys, puppets, trucks and playsets. The Toys may be checked out from the Library, similar to books and other Library materials.
Toys in the Toy Library have been selected for the enlightment, educational, cultural, and physical development of children. Selection is based on professional and commercial evaluations of the item. Safety, quality of construction, durability of materials, educational value, enhancement of small or gross motor control, eye-hand coordination, and stimulation of the imagination are priorities in selection. Toys are selected from a picture catalog available at the Library. All items in the catalog are available for check-out. Toys are checked out for two-week periods, similar to books. Toy circulation is limited to adults, those 18 years of age, or older. A limit of two toys per card-holder can be checked-out. Toys may also be renewed for another two-week loan period. Overdue fines will be the same as for books-5 cents per day.
Upon return, toys are cleaned, disinfected, and inventoried, prior to being available for circulation again. Patrons will be contacted regarding missing or damaged pieces."


http://usatla.org/Welcome.html


When I interviewed the director, he told me that they go out a lot. Not just to parents, but to grandparents, aunts, uncles, daycares etc.
Narmowen is offline  
#18 of 22 Old 03-22-2010, 10:56 AM
Banned
 
bmhpke96's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 127
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have a toy library, but I do have a business that rents out baby gear to people visiting the area, or people that have family with kids coming to town.
One of the items I rent is a toy box and let me tell you, it is a PITA to clean! I put mine in a 20 gal. Rubbermaid container and it has 15 - 17 toys in it. I rent it out for $36/week.
As far as rental items go, my toy boxes get rented fairly often. If you were going to do a toy library I would include larger items, like a play kitchen, maybe an exersaucer, things that cost a lot that someone might not want to buy.
Good luck! I know how hard it is to find a start-up business!
bmhpke96 is offline  
#19 of 22 Old 03-22-2010, 12:50 PM
 
JessieBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 1,367
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Yeah for toy libraries!!

I help to run a non-profit toy library in my community. It is an invaluable resource and it's very popular. It costs $35 for a lifetime family membership and we have more than enough in the bank to keep the toy selection in good shape. When it was started about 15 years ago, the mandate was to specialize in high quality wooden toys and educational games and puzzles. We still follow that guideline when making new purchases. We get a LOT of donations however and these are usually of the plastic crap variety so the inventory is more varied now (as volunteers, no one wants to be the one to refuse or chuck a donation but we need to get over that IMO). The library is housed in a large walk-in closet in our community centre's basement and it is open on Friday and Saturday mornings. The basement is just a huge room with a smooth floor and about 5-30 kids show up on any given day. They go nuts with all the toys down there even if they don't end up borrowing them. We also have big carpet for the babies so all ages can attend the playgroup aspect of it. In general, 2 toys and 2 puzzles/games can be borrowed per child for 3 weeks but we're pretty flexible about the rules. We have a team of about 12 volunteers, each of whom put in 0.5-3 hours per month to make it work.

Our area has experienced a baby boom lately and so the TL is an amazing resource both for the toys and for the social aspect. Almost everyone I know uses it very actively and most of us have avoided buying a lot of toys. I also use it as an observation opportunity - I can see which toys my 15 mo enjoys now but that are also played with by much older kids (for example, wheely bug). I can then make the right choices when I do choose to buy something.

Toy libraries are fairly common around here - all the small towns around me have one - and as far as I know they are all non-profit and cheap to join. I of course really appreciate this but I can also see that it could work as a business model if you were to specialize in top-quality wooden toys of the Waldorf/Montessori type. These tend to withstand the test of time and still look appealing if they get a little beat up. They are also expensive to buy so the rental option would be welcome by many. I think it would be especially successful if you had a physical space where you could invite people in and combine it with a regularly scheduled play group or maybe workshops on different topics. Moms and babies/kids love to get together to talk and play!!! You might not get rich off of it but I'd say it's worth a go!

Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and baby SISTER! due mid-Dec 2014.
JessieBird is online now  
#20 of 22 Old 03-22-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Ahimsa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Somewhere in Time
Posts: 969
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Pittsburgh has a well established (started in 70s) toy lending library/play-space. It is run entirely by volunteers; supports itself with memberships, birthday party rentals, and regular rummage type toy sales; and got started with some grants, donated toys, and a group of committed parents.

Check it out: http://www.pghtoys.com/

Mother to two great kids. &
Ahimsa is offline  
#21 of 22 Old 03-22-2010, 05:38 PM
 
Comtessa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 1,146
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our local library lends toys. It seems like an enormous job to keep everything clean and cared for. If a toy breaks or something, is the toy lender liable? I'd be concerned about that sort of thing.

Have you thought of starting a business helping people pare down the amount of toys they already have?? I think a lot of folks would welcome the help of a decluttering service. Kim John Payne describes such a process in his work with families in his book Simplicity Parenting.

Once you've helped declutter, you can offer those families a membership in your rotating toy library of excellent high-quality toys - as a way to help them feel better about pitching all their kids' awful plastic crap.

You could also charge them to store all their kids' "Grandma toys" and drop them off when Grandma (or whoever) is expected.

ETA: good quality toys might require a LOT more startup capital than you realize. That stuff ain't cheap; a small set of plain wooden blocks, for example, just set us back about $50.

I'm traveling the world with my kids without ever leaving home and blogging about it -- watch, taste, and share our adventures at TheGlobalStayCation.com!
Comtessa is offline  
#22 of 22 Old 06-25-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Simpleweeble's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Lisalu100-came across this thread and I was curious to see if you started a toy rental biz. Would love to hear your experience. I'm doing research into opening a rental store in my location. I think there is a for profit model. Love to hear from you. Thanks,
Simpleweeble is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off