For many parents keeping young children entertained, off screens, and engaged in stimulating play, without spending a small fortune and bringing new toys into the home, can be a daunting task. One answer would be to join a toy library, and we’re blessed to have our very own in Stonnington.
The Stonnington Toy Library, in Malvern, is much loved amongst its army of borrowing families, volunteers, donators, and of course the children themselves. And with over 4000 quality toys, puzzles and games, for babies, toddlers and older children, there’s plenty for everyone.
But what does any of this have to do with sustainability?
‘During the pandemic when parks were closed, there was a spike in the sale of plastic garden slides. Parents were understandably eager to keep their little ones entertained at home. Our members borrowed our slides, sharing resources, and returning them once they were finished for another family to enjoy,’ explained Jane O’Connell, Manager of Stonnington Toy Library.
Purchasing new toys every time comes with an environmental toll; from the packaging and shipping to the manufacturing process and the fact that most toys are non-recyclable. And with 25 per cent of children getting bored of a new toy within one week and over half of the toys sold in Australia being thrown out within 12 months, reusing and sharing at toy libraries is surely the solution.
Sustainability is consistently a top driver for the 500 borrowing families at Stonnington’s toy library. Now in its 44th year, they focus on good quality toys with great play value and that have been built to last, ensuring they can be reused over and over again.
One of their most borrowed baby toys, Happy Apple, is a vintage play treasure from 1970’s and has been keeping local children smiling and engaged for nearly 50 years.
As well as choosing durable toys that have a long ‘play life’, they also have a culture of repair, extending the life of the toy, delighting more children, and avoiding unnecessary waste. The East Malvern Men’s Shed happily lend a hand, and there’s a host of fixers amongst their members that are only too happy to breathe new life into broken toys that would otherwise end up in landfill.
Open 52 weeks a year, stocking more variety than most toyshops, and with an annual membership starting at just $50, now’s the time to support your local, friendly, community run, toy library.
Join today via the Stonnington Toy Library website
We are proud supporters of Stonnington Toy Library, providing funding of $55,000 for the coming year and a rent-free council-owned venue to operate out of.
The service offered to our community by the Stonnington Toy Library aligns with the priorities and actions of Towards a circular economy: Our future waste strategy 2022–2025. Our first dedicated waste strategy guides how we manage waste and move towards a circular system – to help us avoid, reduce, reuse – and keep as much waste out of landfill as possible.