Lesson 58 of 58
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Toy Library B1,B2

Toy library” in Minneapolis teaches kids to take care of Earth

Eco Toy Libray

The toy-lending library began in 2014. It is at Richfield Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. It is for children up to 5 years old and parents or others. The library started because parents wanted to enjoy playing without filling up landfills. When kids lose interest in a toy, it might be thrown away.

Allison Corrado is a library volunteer and a mother. “We love not buying toys all the time,” she said.  

Matt Allen agreed. He has been visiting the toy library for a year and a half with his son.

Good Place To Try Out Toys

toy library
Image 2. A selection of toys from the Minneapolis Toy Library. Photo via Minneapolis Toy Library on Facebook

It is a good place for trying out toys, he said. 

Allen and his partner Caitlin Cook-Isaacson told family members about it. They talked about it for Christmas. 

“We tried to tell aunts and others that we don’t need a lot,” Allen said. “And we tried to limit grandparents to one gift each.” They just sort of shake their head, he said.

Molly Stern and Taryn Tessneer are moms. They started the Minneapolis Toy Library. They started out in meeting rooms at libraries.

Rebecca Nutter, a mother of three young daughters, joined them. Now, she runs the program. 

The idea did not take off at first, she said. The first time, the moms spread out 55 toys on tables. Only three or four families came in.

Today, the toy library has as many as 500 people at a time. It has almost 4,000 toys. The space is full of puzzles, games, blocks, trucks, kits and more. Each family can borrow five things for up to a month.  

Donated toys are accepted, Nutter said. 

Nutter and other volunteers work to find a place for donated items. Some are not used by the toy library. They do not want the toys to be thrown away, she said.

Five Toys And Games For Up To A Month

Today, the toy library has as many as 500 members at a time. It has nearly 4,000 toys. The space is full of puzzles, board games, blocks, trucks, math and science kits, instruments and more. Each family can borrow five toys and games for up to a month.

There is a yearly cost. Those in need may borrow toys free.

The idea of sharing toys is growing. Nutter said a school in Roseville, Minnesota, offers a similar program. She knows of a couple in South Dakota who offer toys to borrow. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a toy library offers 350 toys for kids up to 6 years old.

The toy library charges $1 for items returned late.

Toy donations are also accepted, Nutter said.

Nutter and other volunteers work to find a place for donated items. Those not accepted into the toy library are sometimes given to secondhand stores. Toys might be added to a collection for the library’s garage sale.

They don’t want the toys to be thrown away, she said.

Good For The Earth

Kari Carlson works at the library. She likes it because it is good for the Earth, she said. 

The idea of sharing toys is growing. People are loaning them out in other places, too.

Quiz

Quiz 1 of 0

Toy Library B1,B2

Discussion

1. What do you think of this toy library?

2. Why is it important to teach kids the essence of sharing?

3. Do you think this concept would work in your country? Why or why not?

4. Can you think of any disadvantages to this?

5. What do you do with used toys?

6. Do you have a similar business in your country? What is it?

7. How important is it to teach children to take care of the Earth? 8. How do you contribute to help save the environment