Borrowing toys, for example from a toy library, is one strategy parents can use to ensure their kids access age appropriate toys while keeping the toy budget in check. Toy libraries are usually run on a not for profit basis by organisations like the local council. In some cases, you’ll need to pay a membership fee to borrow from a toy library, but in return for your membership you’ll get access to a large range of jigsaw puzzles, kid’s games, building blocks and other fun toys for your child, which you can take home and swap as often as you like.
Buying cheap kids toys
Toys can be expensive but there are also lots of places you can find cheap kids toys.
Second hand toys
Check your local op shop for cheap second hand toys- you’ll pay much less than the new price and will have the satisfaction of knowing that what you do pay goes towards charity.
The local tip might also be a good source of larger children’s toys like bicycles, doll houses or prams, trampolines and other outdoor play equipment. People may throw away perfectly good toys because they don’t have the space to keep them or the time to sell them. Thankfully most councils now sort waste from things that can be re-used and sell the re-usable items at a fraction of the new price. So if you need some big toys, the tip might be a good place to start looking.
You’ll almost certainly find second hand toys for sale at a fraction of the price they would cost to buy new, at weekend markets and school fetes. A day out shopping for toys at the markets can be a great family outing.
Swap meets are another option and you should be able to find one searching online. Usually held in car parks, swap meets provide an opportunity for parents and kids to get rid of toys they’ve outgrown.
A cheap toy from the markets, the tip or op shop doesn’t mean an inferior quality toy – the markets might be the best place to pick up good quality wooden toys which are difficult to find amongst the shelves of plastic in the shops.
When you feel like you’ve second-hand shopped ‘til you’re about to drop, you may still have the energy to browse for second hand toys online. There’s a number of sites where parents can sell toys their children have outgrown and no longer have space for. For example,
- Simple trade http://www.simpletrade.com.au/public_panel/index.php
- Ebay http://www.ebay.com.au/
- Gumtree http://www.gumtree.com.au/
If you’re looking for a specific toy, perhaps one that’s on your child’s toy wish list, or one which will teach them particular things, finding a second hand version might be a bit more challenging. New toy shopping might be a better option in this case. We all know that new toys can cost a fortune, but there are cheap toys to be found in toy shops and department stores from time to time. Hit the shops during the stocktake sales and you can find hugely discounted toys. Keep an eye on catalogues for toy sales at other times of year. Toy warehouses which sell end of line toys (and let’s face it, as long as it’s a fun toy, your child probably won’t care if it’s ‘last season’) are another option.
Online toy shops also offer a great range of new toys which you can browse through from the comfort of your lounge room. Or if you’re in a hurry or needing a particular toy (say your child is into dinosaur toys), you’ll be able to find it with the assistance of a keyword search.
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