Toy-sharing takes off

Most parents love to provide new toys for their children to keep them learning — and engaged
for more than a few minutes. Brand-new toys, however, are just plain expensive. 

Fortunately, Twin Cities businesses and organizations are stepping up to fill that need.

Elizabeth Wilcox of Golden Valley — a mother, a former Chinese-immersion teacher and now an independent consultant — recently launched Toylend USA, a toy and baby-gear rental service for metro-area families.

Parents browse online for toys sorted by age as well as categories such as early learning, construction and imagination. 

Each toy has a monthly rental fee. For example, a mamaRoo infant seat rents for $30 while the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Car rents for $10. (There’s a flat $5 delivery and pick-up fee per reservation.) 

Memberships (optional) are available for $60 and $120 and include free delivery and pick up, plus other perks, including renting out your own toys. 

Toyscriptions are also available for $25 a month and include two to four new rental toys each month with free delivery and pick up. Learn more at toylendusa.com.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Toy Library — run entirely by volunteers — hosted its first lending event in May. More mobile events, typically held at local libraries, are on the way. Watch mplstoylibrary.org for updates.

Finally, PACER Center — a Bloomington-based nonprofit organization that works to enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities — runs a Lending Library that loans out adaptive toys as well as software for learning a variety of skills. Memberships are $50 a year for families. Learn more at pacer.org/stc.