By Melissa Grant
How often do you spend a small fortune on a toy only for your child to grow out of it in a few months?
Do you frequently feel like your house is cluttered with toys?
If you answered yes, then you might want to check out your local toy library.
There are five libraries operating in the Casey Cardinia area, with each boasting a wide selection of toys.
For a relatively small membership fee, parents can regularly borrow toys throughout the year from the non-profit volunteer run services.
Berwick Toy Library secretary Ashlea Kight says borrowing toys – rather than always buying – is a fantastic way for families to save money while helping their children learn through play.
Ashlea regularly borrows toys for her son Elijah, aged 20 months, based on his interests and skills he needs to work on.
“I’m a teacher so I understand the benefits. There are such a range of skills – motor, growth, problem solving, early maths skills all learnt by children through play. It’s not just about having fun,” she said.
Ashlea said her son generally lost interest in a toy within a week or two.
“He gets four toys per fortnight. When I bring them home they are the coolest toys ever, but by about day 7-10 they are sitting in the corner of the room.“
She said toy libraries were starting to become more popular, however many parents have no idea there is a toy library near them.
“My mum was actually involved in the toy library when I was a young child,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have known it existed unless mum told me and I went searching for it.
“Now that everybody is quite environmentally conscious and trying to do their bit to not contribute to landfill, I think people are getting more interested in it.”
The Berwick Toy Library has more than 600 toys, games and puzzles suitable for children aged up to six years old.
There are also toy libraries located at Pakenham, Cranbourne, Emerald and Upper Beaconsfield.
CASEY CARDINIA TOY LIBRARIES
BERWICK TOY LIBRARY
Timbarra Community Centre, Timbarra Way Berwick
Features over 600 toys for kids aged up to 6
Session times: Mondays 9.30am – 10.30am fortnightly during school terms, Saturdays 9.30am-10.30am fortnightly during school terms
General annual memberships $50, family daycare annual memberships $100
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or search for Berwick Toy Library on Facebook, http://berwicktoylibrary.com.au/
CRANBOURNE TOY LIBRARY
65 Cranbourne-Berwick Road, Cranbourne (building entry via the Casey Radio entrance)
Features more than 18,000 toys
Session times: Tuesdays 10am-11.30am, Thursdays 12pm-1.30pm
Membership starts from $45 (concession) and $60 for the year.
For more information, visit www.www.cranbournetoylibrary.com.au or search for Cranbourne Toy Library on Facebook
PAKENHAM AND DISTRICT TOY LIBRARY
Located at Hollins Children’s Centre, Atlantic Drive, Pakenham
Features a large range of toys aimed at children aged 0-6 years
Session times: First week of the month – Friday 10am-1pm, Second week of the month – Wednesday 9.30am-11am, Third week of the month – Sunday 10am-12pm, Fourth week of the month – Wednesday 9.30am-11am
Family memberships are $55 a year. For more information, search Pakenham & District Toy Library on Facebook or email email@example.com
PUFFING BILLY TOY LIBRARY
5 Church Street, Emerald
Features more than 900 toys aimed at kids from infants to 12 years of age and beyond
Session times: Wednesdays 10am-11.30am, Saturdays 10am-11.30am
For more information including membership options, email firstname.lastname@example.org or search for Puffing Billy Toy Library on Facebook
UPPER BEACONSFIELD TOY LIBRARY
Community Room, Upper Beaconsfield Community Centre, 10-12 Salisbury Road
Features more than 500 toys for children from birth to 6 years
Session times: Thursday 11am – Midday during school terms (closed public holidays)
Annual Family Membership $40 (conditions apply). Borrow up to five items for two weeks.
For more information, visit www.ubtl.mibase.com.au, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or search Upper Beaconsfield Toy Library on Facebook.