Toy Rentals and Sharing Make the Holidays Easier For Parents

Bring a smile to your child’s face without breaking the bank.

Dec 12, 2020

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The holidays are a beautiful time, complete with family dinners, twinkling lights, and cozy time relaxing indoors. Something that children especially look forward to are gifts they can open over the holiday season. 

Although the excitement of receiving gifts is free, it can be a bit of an expense for parents to buy new presents each year. According to The NPD Group, consumers in England spent £3.3 billion on toys in 2018, totaling around 371 million items. 

With this massive expense, toy sharing and rental services are an effective way to cut costs as well as help the environment. In England, a few companies have popped up that take the pressure off parents in creative and cost-effective ways. The concept of toy renting and sharing isn’t completely new, but the method in which these companies operate is organized and seamless, according to CultureWhisper

With a monthly membership fee, parents save money in the long-run and each month brings a new surprise for children. By receiving different types of toys, children are inspired to play with a game or doll they wouldn’t necessarily choose in a store. This opens up a new world of creativity and imagination. 

Whirli is a membership-based company that charges £9.99 per month. According to Metro, they offer familiar brands such as Peppa Pig, Fisher Price, Disney, and Playmobil. After children are done playing with the toy, parents send it back to Whirli where it is sterilized and cleaned before the next child receives it.

You can swap the toy whenever you like. If a child truly loves a toy, you can buy it at a reduced rate, according to CultureWhisper, or if you have had it for nine months, it is yours to keep. The toys at Whirli are suitable for children up to age seven. 

Another company working in the toy-sharing space is the Toy Box Club. This is a toy sharing subscription box curated for pre-school kids. This company mixes together the joy of receiving a new toy coupled with the magic of a book. You can keep the toys and book for as long as you want and the subscriptions to this service start at £35 a month. 

The toys and books are always appropriate for the child’s age, are gender-neutral, and are delivered in completely recyclable boxes. As well as handheld toys, this company also offers “big toys” such as children’s cars, scooters, activity gyms, and even a mini piano!

In addition to subscription-based services, there are also toy libraries in London. According to CultureWhisper, you can borrow toys, meet other families, and your children can play together. In London, these include the Charlton Toy Library, Lewisham Toy Library, and Pimlico Toy Library. (Some libraries are now closed, others are by appointment only or they request parents to pre-book the toys.)

Besides toys, parents can also rent birthday party equipment, outdoor play toys, and dress-up items. Some of these places even offer a “toy consultant” who can share advice regarding your child’s eating and sleeping habits and provide appropriate toy recommendations.

In the US, the Toy Library is a toy rental service that will mail you the items of your choice, with over 500 educational, award-winning toys for children up to age 10. Many libraries in the US also offer a toy-lending service. The USA Toy Library Association offers a list of locations.

Toy rental services and toy libraries are a glimpse into the future of how gifts will be given and shared. Whether it be a surprise for a child’s birthday, a holiday treat, or ‘just because,’ toys are an essential part of a kid’s creativity and development. For an inexpensive membership fee, you can tap into your child’s imagination with an inspiring new game or book.

Enhance your gift-giving tradition as you celebrate the holidays this year. You’ll love the smiles on children’s faces as they open their presents Christmas morning, after lighting the Chanukah menorah, or during festive Kwanzaa!

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JACKIE SCHINDLER, CONTRIBUTOR
Jackie Schindler teaches EFL to students between the ages of 5-15. She is passionate about making English relevant, fun and memorable. She always tries to look on the bright side in every situation. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler and always on the hunt for the best iced coffee.