I’ve been keeping an eye out lately for good places to donate toys as I hop around town. With each birthday party or holiday, we pick up new toys, and inevitably it makes sense to pass some on to new homes.
But… every time I go to put a toy into the box…I flashback to Corduroy and feel bad! Have you read that book? Are you in the same boat?
Simple idea: Look for a unique place to donate toys
Here’s a quick low-down of 10 unique places to donate your gently-used toys, where I think they will be loved just as much as they were at your house. ;-)
1. Your Doctor's Office
If you were to sit down and add up the hours you’ve spent in a doctor’s waiting room… well actually… let’s not do that! How about a quick recall of how thankful you were for those toys that kept your little one busy while you waited? Give your doctor (or other local doctors/dentists) a call to see if they can use a few gently-used toys.
2. Your Local Library
Sometimes libraries will have a little play area to keep younger siblings entertained during reading hour, etc. Or, they may be able to use your toys for activities. Librarians are some of the most creative people I’ve ever met! Give them a call and see if they can use your toy donations. At the very least, they will take book donations.
3. Local Churches
Many churches provide babysitting during their services, or events, and a toy room makes this much easier! Your gently used toys may find a very happy home as a donation to a local church.
4. Women's Shelters
Shelters or missions are often overlooked as places to directly send your donations. Toys especially, can be used in Women’s Shelters, where many women are staying with their kids. If this temporary home turns out to be a location they stay for a while, you can imagine how well appreciated a variety of toy donations may be.
5. Schools (Preschools, Kindergarten, or Daycare)
Although hundreds of toys call preschool home, this location for donating toys is often overlooked. Many schools have multiple classrooms, and can therefore use extra toys to provide age-appropriate variety in each room. This is the same for daycares. It’s easy to start with your own kindergarten, preschool, or daycare if you have one, but if you don’t, you can quickly find local options by searching on Yelp or asking in local “Mom Facebook Groups”.
6. Fire Stations / First Responders
Sometimes first responders will give stuffed animals or toys to kids after a fire or other trauma. They can be used to comfort a child in a time of need.
7. Animal Shelters / Wildlife Refuge
Stuffed animals can sometimes be used to comfort pets while they wait in kennels for their new homes. Plastic toys, plastic kitchens, play houses, or play tables can sometimes be used by wildlife sanctuaries. Call your local shelter or rescue group to see if they can use what you have.
8. Grandma's House
Did a grandma in your family do a really good job of donating toys when her kids were young? If so, you may have located the perfect home for A FEW of your favorite toys to stay for special play dates at grandma’s house. Ask her, and see what she says!
9. Hand-me-down to Friends
This method can take a few forms. The easy option is to pass them on to friends who are having babies, or have children younger than yours. You can even snap photos and post them on your Facebook page. If you want to get more creative, throw a party at your house and set out all of your donation toys for friends to pick and choose what to take home with them.
10. Thrift Stores or Resale Shops
Making some money back may be an extra perk. If you have a resale shop in your area, it’s easy to take a box of toys in for them to estimate a price for you. You’ll be supporting a local business, and your toys will find a new happy home. If you don’t have a resale shop, you may consider ebay. It may be your first step in to becoming an ebay selling master!
10.5... Habitat for Humanity or Salvation Army
I think this is where most of us default (so it’s not making the top 8 “unique” places to donate toys) but… it’s not a bad default! These organizations will add the donations to their store’s merchandise and use the proceeds to further their mission in the world. Not too shabby.
- Don’t donate broken toys, or toys with missing pieces
- Don’t donate toys that are so dirty they won’t come clean
- Don’t donate toys that are meant to be in a baby’s mouth (such as pacifiers)
- Do add batteries if the toy needs them to work
- Do double check with the organization before going to ensure that they can use your toy donation
Donating Toys with Your Kids:
As with all of our “Give Back with Kids” ideas, imagine the excitement that the new child will feel when he or she receives the toy, with your child. Talk about it, and use your imaginations together to paint a mental picture.
It also helps to imagine your toy being in its new location where it is loved and played with every day, versus sitting in a closet or pile at your house.
In addition, some of these toy donation options will ease the transition because your child can still play with the toys when visiting that location (such as church, library, grandma’s house, etc.).
Did any of these ideas work for you? Let me know!!
Donate Toys Via Home Pickup
Need someone to come to your home to pick up your toy donations? Check out my post Spring Clean and Give Back with Your Kids under the section “Ways to Donate Clothes VERY Easily” to find some quick ideas for donating toys via home pickup.