Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Certainly not ours to own! But free toys have been coming our way, courtesy of the absolutely wonderful, brilliant, indispensable Toy Library.
Why we don’t have these libraries in Singapore, I don’t know. I reckon it wouldn’t work because one, most people back home are leery of letting their kids play with and mouth toys which may have vestiges of saliva or food bits from some other (horrors, germ-riddled?) child.
Two, would folks be socially responsible enough to make sure that these free toys are returned in mint condition? Or would they say, heck, it’s not mine anyway, who cares if one piece is missing or if my kid totally wrecked it? Would they even return it?
We pay a A$33 membership fee to borrow toys for a year, up to five toys each time, for up to a month’s worth of play per toy.
It’s a damn good deal. The library aims to provide “premium quality toys and games” to those who are “financially disadvantaged” and any family with young children. That we are, former and latter.
And truly, the toys are premium.
The toy library itself is no great shakes on first glance, it’s just one small room within the library, the size of your average HDB flat living room, with toy-strewn shelves all round its perimeter.
Take a closer look, however, and you find that the toys are really quite marvellous. Wooden rocking horses, box cars, loads of building toys carefully inventoried in plastic boxes, wooden jigsaw puzzles. Lots of solid wooden things (I love!) and very mentally stimulating toys which you’d normally have to pay a fortune for.
Day is currently obsessing over a wooden train track set and a box of newish wooden number cubes to thread shoelaces through, which Dee loves too.
To date, the toys we’ve picked were in great condition. It somehow puts the onus on me to make sure I pass that on. I usually turn our apartment upside down to make sure every single little piddling piece in back in the box.
On that note, I have to say, too, that while the libraries I frequent here are smaller, the books are in far better condition. Especiially the children’s books. Amazingly, pull-out flaps are intact and pages are whole. Most of the books even look new.
That says something.