Buying toys for our kids can be an exhausting (and expensive) experience. Taking them into a store, or surfing a website and giving them a seemingly endless amount of options, can be overwhelming for everyone. And then it always seems that they want the biggest or most expensive toy in the store — the one you were trying to not have to buy. So then, you’re stuck arguing about why you won’t or can’t buy that particular toy.
Maybe it’s because you know the toy will be relegated to the toy bin after a few weeks, never to be touched again. Or maybe that fancy Lego set with 100+ pieces will end up living in the vacuum cleaner after three days. And then there’s a matter of space. Maybe it’s flat-out not in your budget, or not money you are willing to spend. Usually, our kids have enough toys, and we know that they really don’t need more. And the closets and toy bins are already overflowing, so why add more?
But there could be a solution — toy sharing.
There are actual toy sharing subscription boxes. What a time to be alive, right? Basically, you can get a variety of toys shipped right to your door, your kid can play with them to their heart’s content, and then when they lose interest, you ship them back. And repeat and repeat for however long you want.
A toy sharing subscription is perfect, especially for younger kids who constantly want something new and get bored easily. Imagine how fun it would be to sit down and pick out a few toys and then have them magically appear at the door? And they don’t even need to know that this toy isn’t brand new. It’s brand new to them, and ultimately that’s all that matters.
For parents who are being more conscious about what kind of toys they’re buying, it can be time consuming to do research. And buying new toys creates more waste, and more clutter in your home, so a toy sharing subscription is also more environmentally friendly.
“It’s the way many millennial parents shop now. We want to access the expensive products without having to spend a ton on them,” Shiva Kashalkar, founder and CEO of Green Piñata Toys, said, speaking to Parents.
Green Piñata is a popular toy sharing subscription box, as is ToyLibrary. Each one provides parents a lot of options for toy sharing, which will keep kids happy and entertained.
So, how do these things work exactly? Well, they’re pretty simple. You pay a monthly fee, ranging from $20 to $25. Depending on the toy sharing subscription box you get, you will have a certain amount of toys you can receive every month. For example, ToyLibrary lets you choose up to two toys based on their credit system, whereas Green Piñata allows up to four toys per box. Both sites have a fairly large selection of toys. They are developmentally appropriate, and there are no screen-focused toys.
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One of the best things about the toy sharing subscription box is that there is no hard deadline about returning the toys. If your kiddo has taken a shine to one particular toy, or one particular set of toys, you can keep them for an extended period of time before you have to return them. And if it turns out they love a toy so much they don’t want to let it go, you can buy that toy at a discount, which is amazing.
My son can be a little rough with toys, as many young kids can be. For those who worry about using a toy sharing subscription box for that reason, don’t worry too much. The companies take into account that these are toys, and things happen. They account for normal wear and tear, and ToyLibrary has a policy about lost pieces since they rent out many Lego sets. And of course, there are things set in place for irreparable toys or loss. You’re going to have to pay a fee, but it isn’t astronomical. Additionally, you will never have to worry about receiving a toy that looks like it’s been through a war. Once toys are deemed to be too battered, they’re taken out of rotation and replaced.
Now I know what you’re thinking — how in the world are these toys cleaned? Because I will admit, one of the biggest concerns I have about using a toy sharing subscription box is cleanliness. I’m not even that much of a germaphobe, but kids are snot-factories. And during cold and flu season, knowing that my kid is playing with something that god only knows how many other kids have touched makes me a little uneasy. All toy sharing subscription companies assure that the toys are safely and effectively sanitized upon receipt. They are then stored in packaging that will protect them. But no one would fault you for giving them another quick clean when you get them.
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“I don’t hesitate to take a clean toy off the shelf and give it to my four-month-old. It’s much cleaner than giving him a new one straight from the packaging or even one from a friend’s house!” Kashalkar added.
For those who may not be able to afford a toy sharing subscription box, there is a way that you can still participate in toy sharing. Across the country, there are toy lending libraries. They operate similar to book libraries. Toy lending libraries also provide resources for parents and children, including differently abled children, for whom there are specially adapted toys.
Or you can even start your own toy sharing among friends. How many times has it happened that you’ll go to someone’s house for a playdate and your kid leaves a toy behind? Or when your kid is playing at a friend’s house and find a toy they love, the mom just tells you to take it and bring it back some other time? You’re pretty much already doing it without calling it such. This is virtually free, and you know who’s been in contact with the toys.
A toy sharing subscription box can also be a gift, which is really cool. It is a little pricey, so it’s not something you would do for one of your kid’s friends, but definitely if you’re buying a gift for a young family member, or say, your bestie’s kid. This way, you’re not clogging up someone else’s house with a bunch of junk, and you don’t have to play the guessing game of “will this kid like this?”
Right now, toy subscription boxes are still a growing trend. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more and more popping up in the next few years. It’s a trend that I can’t complain about.