Are your little ones going through toys quicker than you can keep up with? Such fast development and constantly changing interests mean that a regular refreshment of the toy box is often needed to keep your kids playing happy. Toy libraries are a great money-saving, eco-friendly way to borrow and swap toys without always having to buy new ones when those little eyes start to wander, and Walthamstow Toy Library and Play Centre is one of the best in London! Find out everything you need to know about this volunteer-run, charity toy library and why we love the wonderful work their community is doing.
What Is It?
Walthamstow Toy Library and Play Centre is run by an educational charity aiming to help babies and under 5s learn in a stimulating, safe and creative environment. In their most crucial years, young children and their parents, carers and families can learn together through interactive play sessions and toy loaning from their wonderfully eclectic library.
Six main aims are at the heart of this Walthamstow Toy Library: to prepare young children for that all-important nursery plunge; promote family bonding through play; reduce isolation of parents as well as kids through their supportive social network; encourage a focus on family health and well-being; and to ensure accessibility to families of all backgrounds.
How Does It Work?
Your can get a family membership for Walthamstow Toy Library and Play Centre for just £10 a year, with free memberships being offered for families on certain benefits. Library members can borrow any of their wonderful toys and equipment, hire the play centre for extra-special birthday parties, and even have a say in how the organisation is run themselves as part of their community-focussed vibe.
Kids go through toys like wildfire and if they're constantly outgrowing, getting bored of or wishing for what their friends have then toy-swapping is a great solution. From as little as just £1 for 3 weeks, you can borrow an array of toys from Walthamstow Toy Library that have been specifically chosen to help under 5s learn through play. With everything from baby toys, jigsaw puzzles and board games, construction toys, arts and crafts, dress-up clothes, instruments, outdoor play activities and heaps more, your children will have a whale of a time choosing and playing no matter what their interest. You can even hire a crate to carry them home in - Walthamstow really have thought of everything!
As well as their imaginative toy collections, the play centre also runs regular activities for its members. Offering play sessions for a variety of age groups, you'll be sure to find one to suit your little one's interests. Workshops cover all aspects of educational development including physical play, messy play, storytelling sessions and Family Saturdays as well as seasonal events like their sunny May Fair and festive Christmas Grotto (check their website for new events!). The play sessions work on a drop-in basis and feature free play time, a delicious healthy snack and cherished circle time before ending with some ingenious toy lending. Make time to see their gorgeous garden too, featuring terrific toy cars and charming play houses!
Walthamstow Toy Library and Play Centre is run by a volunteer committee of local parents, carers, and lovers of the library. They're always looking for volunteers and you can apply through their website or via email to help out supervising play sessions, maintaining their beautiful garden, creating imaginative display boards and preparing craft activities - you just can't be afraid to get messy and get stuck in as part of the library and play community!
Why Do We Love It?
The charity community of Walthamstow Toy Library and Play Centre is what really makes it so special. We love that they use programmes like Recycle4charity to raise funds, recycling old mobile phone cases and ink cartridges donated by parents. Parent involvement is another wonderfully-intrinsic part of the library and play centre, being both physically involved in the play sessions and making sure all their voices heard. Walthamstow Toy Library aim to represent families from all walks of life, giving them that community-focused feel and all-important inclusivity.
Toy Library Walthamstow also aim to make life as easy as possible for families; childminders can use memberships too for easy weekday-weekend transitions and siblings up to the age of 8 are welcome during school holidays so that no one gets left behind. With our co-founder being a Mum of twin boys, Kidadl also particularly loves their Twins Club, where expectant or new parents of twins can join monthly sessions for mutual support, practical advise and to develop a friendly, family network. As if all that wasn't enough, children's books and parenting guides are free to borrow from the toy library!
Get Me There!
Find this wonderful toy library and play centre on Ravenswood Road, located in E17 between Walthamstow Central and Wood Street - look out for the Comely Bank Clinic Walthamstow next door!
For more great playgroups and East London family fun, head to Kidadl.com.