Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published August 16th 2012
Don't buy - loan
The early years are extremely crucial in a child's development. Children learn through play and the more varied the play experiences, the broader their learning and overall development.
Providing appropriate toys for youngsters can be a very expensive exercise, but thankfully toy libraries offer an affordable alternative with access to a huge range of quality toys, games, jigsaws, etc.
Toy libraries often operate on a membership system, whereby families join for a small annual fee which entitles them to borrow a range of toys for a few weeks at a time, much like a book library. Most will also roster members to help run the borrowing sessions.
Toy libraries stock a wide range of items generally catering for babies through to age eight and all items are selected on the basis of play and/or educational value, quality, durability and portability.
Often, toys are selected for a specific purpose and may be displayed in categories to assist selection.
Examples of categories might include activity, baby, construction, dramatic, educational, fine motor, games, interactive (sand/water/playdough), puzzles, music, and video.
Individual toys may range from smaller inexpensive items, for example threading spools or junior card games, right through to "big-ticket" items such as ride-ons, kitchens, baby play centres and outdoor play gyms, to mention just a few.
Toy libraries often also purchase toys in response to member requests, so families can still cater for the specific likes or phases their child is going through if the item is not already part of the collection.
The benefits of toy library membership to members are immense, as children can be continually stimulated through the selection of different play items every few weeks.
This avoids the prohibitive cost of purchasing each toy and means that families don't end up with a house-full of toys that are quickly outgrown. Grandparents, home-schooling families, carers, etc also find local toy libraries to be an invaluable resource.
Why not call in to see your local toy library's extensive collection this week and learn how it can help enhance your child's play and learning experiences – and save you a fortune at the same time?
The costs, times and conditions shown are specifically for the Swan View Toy Library, but are fairly representative - inquire at your own local toy library for their details.
Where:Brown Park Community Centre, Salisbury Road, SWAN VIEW WA 6056
Cost:Standard Membership is a low $35 per year. Pension and concession card holders are $25 per year (proof of concession status required). A $50 bond is required when joining but is fully refundable when leaving the toy library providing there are no out