As a parent of two little girls, one of my own concerns is to bring them up to become kind, loving people. And donating toys to kindergarten and other needy children where ever they are, can be one of the great ways to teach children to be kind towards other children, and adults too.
With today’s post, we have join 100 Days of Kindness Challenge 2015 initiated by Toddler Approved and Coffee Cups & Crayons and we loved seeing all the awesome ideas shared so far by number of family friendly bloggers.
Another reason we are fond of expressing kindness through toy donations is because is fits our desire to cut down on number of toys our children own and in this way, encourage more play.
Before I move on, I would like to explain something that might get you confused later on: We live in Croatia and here, what we call kindergarten, is a place where kids age 1 – 6 are during daytime with early education teachers. So, we have under one roof nursery, preschool and kindergarten. Of course, these are different groups with different teachers, and programs for each age group are adjusted. Nevertheless, we have them all gathered under one roof.
My husband and I both work full time and both of our daughters have been signed and attended kindergarten since they were 1 years old. They would spend in kindergarten 5 days a week, 8 hours each day. It was a place they formed their first friendships. I’m sure that teachers in kindergarten knew pretty much everything what was going on in our home. Well, in everyone’s home. It’s like that with kids. Can’t keep anything for themselves, especially if you have 2 little chatty daughters like we do! Yes, we love them! And we know that they have formed a special relationship with their early teachers. And that’s awesome if you ask me!
Maybe because they spent so much time in kindergarten, we never really had to argue with our kids about donating toys they have overgrown. First time this was going to happen, we explained what we would like to do and why by saying: “We have quite a lot toys. Some of them are no longer the ones that you play with. We would like to share some with kids in the kindergarten. Would you like to help us pick which one we’ll give other kids so they have great toys to play with?”. And we were on our way to purge our toys and choose the ones that will be given away. At one point, I even had to stop them because they were piling up toys they still play with!
If you’re interested to donate toys, I would recommend checking directly with kindergarten principal or teachers which toys they would prefer to receive because it’s not the same in all kindergartens. Our kindergarten is a public institution and as such, always lack money for most of things they need, including toys. What we have donated in the past ranged from board books, building blocks, wooden puzzles, play utensils, pots, and pans, to items for dress-up like purses and scarves. Things that are not welcome in our kindergarten are plush animals and electronic toys (mostly because they require additional care). But again, you should check with your local kindergarten before bringing toys to their doorsteps.
Of course, all the toys that are going to be donated should be in perfect condition and clean. Best is to pick those that are in “like new” condition.
In case you don’t have kindergarten around, or your kindergarten doesn’t receive gently used toys, here are several other options you could try and ask if they would be open for donation:
- children hospital
- church nursery
- homeless shelters
- teen mom support programs
- domestic violence shelters
- pediatrician / doctor’s office (for waiting rooms)
- early educational programs
- day care center
You can still join in 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge 2015 with your kids and get them to donate some of their toys!
There are many other ways to teach children to be kind and you’re welcome to check and print out the list of 100 Acts of Kindness for Kids to get inspired! Every smile counts!
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Mihaela runs Best Toys 4 Toddlers blog and loves to come up with new ideas how to use old toys her 2 daughters keep leaving on the floor to slip over. She loves them despite the fact that they call her mommy few hundred times a day, and it makes her nuts.