NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Toys can be expensive, and sometimes parents don’t realize their children don’t even enjoy them until they get home, and it’s too late to return them. Thanks to a nonprofit called Traveling Toys, parents have a more affordable option.
Traveling Toys works with some public libraries in Connecticut to determine what toys would be most popular and most needed and then help the libraries apply for grants to pay for the toys.
“They [kids] stand here in awe for a few minutes usually,” Zoe Hayn, the children’s librarian at the new London Public Library, said with a laugh as she looked up at toy library shelves.
Staff at the New London Public Library said it’s great for families in the community. They can take out two toys on their library card, play with them, return them in three weeks, and get other toys.
The New London Public Library’s Children’s Center has 145 toys in its toy library, averaging 87 toy checkouts per month.
Each toy is in a numbered clear box so the library can track them like books.
“Each toy kit also has a little insert with all the pieces and also benefits, so things about learning, social, emotional, creative,” Hayn said.
The library also offers STEAM toys for older kids.
“Toys are expensive,” Gupta said. “Children outgrow toys, right?”
Families that check out toys can play with them in the back room at the library, or they can take them home.
“Some families aren’t able to afford it, and they are very grateful to have that opportunity,” Hayn said.
Traveling Toys partners with public libraries in West Haven, Westbrook, Willimantic, Preston, Groton, and New London.