My youngest son just started preschool. He is on the autism spectrum, so he is required to go to public school to receive his therapies. Long story short: our school district is one of the poorest in the entire state of Colorado. This was a surprise to me as there are quite a few affluent neighborhoods within the district boundaries. Because of the lack of funds, the preschool has a severe lack of toys and other materials. There are four classrooms and they all have to share the same train table and trains.
I came home after the first week of school and tried to think of a way to help. Fundraisers? No, all the parent’s are kind of sick of selling cookie dough and wrapping paper. Begging local businesses? That could work, but I simply don’t have the time to go door to door or draft mass emails. Donate toys? Why yes, I think I can do that!
With three boys, a large family and a span of twelve years of birthday and holiday gifts under our belt, we are drowning in a sea of toys. I went through they boys’ bedrooms and our playroom and was surprised at how easy it was to gather toys for donation. We have wooden trains and a train table they aren’t using and that’s the number one thing the school was looking for! We also donated MEGA BLOKS, some dinosaurs, Geo-Trax and Play-Doh and have more toys to sort through.
If you want to donate toys to a school or daycare or any charity, there are a few things you should do first.
- Make sure the toys have all their parts. Kids lose interest in a toy when they can’t find all the pieces that go to it.
- Clean, clean, clean! Make sure the toys are cleaned of any dirt and dust. Usually a quick dip in some soapy water (depending on what the toy is made of) does the trick.
- Check the toys over for any sharp parts sticking out or broken pieces. Take extra care to ensure they are safe for a new set of children to enjoy them.
- Make sure you are aware of any policies governing the donation of toys to your school, including—and I hate to think this way—liability.
We all have that box of toys in the garage or attic that the kids don’t play with anymore. Most schools and daycares are more than happy to take toys your children have outgrown. You can feel better knowing that even if you can’t donate financially to a school, or help with the Parent Teacher Organization or fundraisers, you helped the students and classroom by providing new tools for learning.