With digital devices taking the attention of younger and younger children, is there still room for physical toys?
The success of Clutha district toy libraries suggests there is.
‘‘It’s the same as a book library, but with toys,” Lawrence Community Toy Library treasurer Courtney Deal said.
Mrs Deal has been involved with the organisation for about three years and said it was “doing really well”.
“We got a lot of grants last year, so we’ll be getting a lot of new stuff this year,” she said
“The business has been running for 20 years and some of the items were approaching 13 or 14 years old. We thought it was time for a refresh.”
There would also be a particular focus on educational and interactive toys that encourage children to play.
Mrs Deal said the library was flexible in its borrowing options.
There were casual rates for grandparents or other caregivers who wanted to borrow toys only over the school holidays.
“But most of our families are on memberships and come in each Friday or every second Friday to get more toys.”
She said the main benefit was the money saved by borrowing toys instead of buying them.
“Families don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on toys . .. this way it’s toys ‘going the distance’ rather than being used for a while and then thrown in the bin.”
The community had also been generous in giving old toys to the facility.
“They’re getting a second use, which is quite cool.”
Balclutha Toy Library manager Liz Ralston said “word of mouth” ensured people heard about toy libraries.
New parents were an evergrowing source of borrowers.
“There are things you don’t ever hear about until you become a parent, and the toy library is one of them,” Mrs Ralston said.