I recently completed a workshop about Toys in a Library. I found this to be a fascinating subject and wanted to share some resources that I found to be very interesting and useful.
The Cuyahoga County Public Library has a lending toy collection and we got to see how this operation works first hand. I wish there had been something like this available when I was teaching Preschool.
The USA Toy Library Association's website is a wonderful resource to learn all about what toy libraries are about and how they can help the children of their community.
The Toy Industry Association's website is another great resource about the importance of toys and play for young children.
PBS also has a great website called The Whole Child that includes some wonderful information about the development of children and how this relates to play.
I would love to visit the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY someday! It looks super fun!
Some great resources for buying toys include:
Dragon Fly Toys
Enabling Devices (for special needs toys)
Discount School Supply
and many others!
The Ohio Early Learning Standards and the Ohio Infant and Toddler Guidelines found on the Ohio Department of Education's website are also a great resource to see what skills are expected for the various age ranges and to see how play can help achieve those goals.
There is even an International Play Association! NAEYC can also provide a lot of good information about the value of play in the lives of young children.
In the workshop, we discussed one of my favorite learning theories, Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, among many others. We also discussed brain research and how that play can help to increase this.
We also discussed the importance of play safety and the guidelines for selecting appropriate toys for various ages and abilities.
Two sources for grants for toys and other topics are the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Cleveland Foundation.
Check to see if there is a toy library in your community and see if there are ways that you can help. As a children's librarian, look for ways that you can incorporate toys and play into your library environment and in your programs and storytimes. Play is a wonderful thing!