Thursday, June 13, 2024

Celebrations at local toy library

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Six-year-old Joshua Chuah at the Howick & Pakuranga Toy Library.

By Charlotte Gray

Toy Library Awareness Week is approaching (March 5-11) and Howick & Pakuranga Toy Library is getting ready to celebrate.

Alongside a colouring competition, there will also be a “where is the toy?” photo competition on their Facebook page, with a free membership prize that proved very popular last year.

The Howick & Pakuranga Toy Library has been going for more than 25 years and in that time has seen hundreds of kids grow up borrowing their many toys. Unlike the regular book library, which is publicly funded, toy libraries are charities driven by a group of volunteers who love what they do.

The Howick & Pakuranga Toy Library has been going for more than 25 years and in that time has seen hundreds of kids grow up borrowing their many toys.

Howick & Pakuranga Toy Library co-chairperson Gemma Chuah says she has loved coming since her boys were 2 and 4. “They always love coming in and choosing from so many different toys.”

With membership options ranging from $30 to $100, and most of the library’s toys (more than 1000 at last count) hiring out for between $1 and $4, it is a highly affordable option for many families.

“Joining a toy library is like having Christmas every two weeks,” says Chuah.

The delight of kids coming to pick new toys or toys they have borrowed 100 times is what motivates the volunteers to keep going, and being able to return and exchange them helps cut down on clutter, she says.

The Howick & Pakuranga Toy Library committee, from left, Sammy Mukayeva, Sarah McNeil, Marisa McKay (holding 4mo Boyd McKay), Caroline Hubber, Shelley Clews, Charlotte Gray and Gemma Chuah.

“The sustainability and environmental aspect is fantastic too. Each toy is enjoyed again and again by many different families. We’re avoiding adding cheap plastic toys and packaging to landfill.”

Toys range from board games to pretend play, dress-up, and outdoor equipment like playhouses or rollercoasters.

Families are invited to drop by for a visit on Saturday (9:30am-12pm) or Monday (9:30am-11:30am) to see what is on offer. The toy library is at Howick Presbyterian Church, 11 Vincent Street, Howick; downstairs in the cafe area.

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