As parents we often spend lots of money and time searching for the most popular toys for our children for their birthdays and holidays. However, children get older and life throws us unexpected changes where we may find ourselves preparing for a move, so we need to clean out the playrooms. Some classic toys like dollhouses, train sets, wooden toys and ride-on toys can be saved and passed on from generation to generation. However, most places want new toys in their packaging for donations, so what do you do with old toys your child no longer plays with? You may have had a yard sale and were left with extra toys that didn't sell, but you also don't want to be wasteful and throw them away. Have you ever asked yourself, "Where can I donate used toys?"
Many toys have been recalled by the CPSC, a government agency, due to choking hazards or risk of injuries. These toys are not safe. You should take them away from your children immediately and follow the recall instructions to determine whether there is a refund, replacement kit or new product available. Before you consider donating toys, make sure to check whether or not the specific toy has been recalled. Here are lists of toy recalls from the past several years.
After you inspect each toy for safety, then clean your toys. Stuffed animals can be washed in special laundry bags, other baby toys and preschool toys can be washed with soap and water or disinfectant wipes. Check battery compartments for any rechargeable batteries, old batteries and corrosion. Read here for more information on how to clean toys.
Aside from friends and family members who are often the recipients of old toys, there are several places in each community that may take toy donations. I would suggest making phone calls first before you arrive with your items.
Call the local WIC office, a government agency that services pregnant women, postpartum mothers, infants and children under the age of 5 who need baby formula and nutritional food assistance to supplement their diets. In our community they have been very receptive to taking donations of used baby toys and toddler toys, which they use for their waiting area, then send home with the young children who visit their office if they show an interest in the toy. Local homeless shelters may take small toys to give to children or have play areas within them to entertain children.
Public school systems typically enjoy board games and arts and crafts activities to keep kids entertained during indoor recess times and during after school activities.