In New Zealand they have an amazing service to families with young children on a limited budget – toy libraries.
My Irish friend Sheila who has lived here for years and now has a toddler and baby, advised me to join one, as we had only the toys we could fit in Minnie’s trunki from the UK. So on Thursday night I left Gareth putting the angels to bed and I went in search of my local toy library. They are often in an unused classroom in a primary school, which mine is. You pay about $70 a year and can take out eight toys every two weeks.
It was like finding Aladin’s cave, there were shelves and shelves of every puzzle, doll, lego or play station ever invented. I took about 20 minutes to select a few things for each of my children, already planning what I would get the following fortnight. Paid my money, signed up to do my volunteer session each month and packed the car full of joy.
I set everything up that night so that in the morning the children would have a Christmas morning experience. It was so good to see them dive into the toys and for the first time in weeks I had half an hour in the kitchen without any interruption from bored children – bliss!
TOY LIBRARIES ARE GENIUS!