• Handpicked Harrogate

Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library

One of my favourite groups – it’s brilliant. Held in The Old School, near Bond End in Knaresborough, The Toy Library has been running for 28 years, and is a voluntary organisation with 2 employees. Parking is available which is great. The charity aims to provide children with access to high quality, educational and sensory toys.

We were warmly greeted by Rachael and Lauren, who are absolutely lovely. Little Legs wasn’t bothering to say hello and was straight off to explore the toys. Of which there is a LOT. I was so impressed at the range available – duplo, playdough, messy play with oats, a role play vets, book corner, baby area and several ride ons. These change at each play session.

Little Legs got stuck in and started making the soft toys better (or perhaps more poorly), and got so attached to one she screamed the place down at the end when she had to give it back.

We moved onto playdough, which was homemade before Christmas and still smelled of cinnamon – yummy!

I wasn’t sure what she’d make of the oats – she hates getting messy and we / nursery are always trying to encourage it. At first she stuck to using the utensils, but soon got stuck in with her hands and absolutely loved it.

The whole feel of the group is lovely, it was nice and quiet, everyone was really friendly and Little Legs felt right at home. It’s a bit like going on a play date to someone’s house, just with a few more children and a gazillion toys.

The children play for an hour, and then have a snack of lovely fresh fruit, which is kindly donated by Fodder (credit to them!). There was also brown toast, and Little Legs troughed a fair amount so it must have been really good.

Then follows tidy up time, before the song bag is brought out and children pick something out of the bag to determine which song is sung.

The Friday sessions are only £3 – for an hour and a half, hot drinks / snacks for adults and children - this is fantastic value for money. Play sessions take place on a Tuesday and Friday, with a more educational session on a Wednesday.

We also checked out the toy library whilst we were there – what a treasure trove! If I tried to list them, I’d be here until Christmas next year. Membership is £30 a year or £15 a term – a tiny amount for the amount of toys it gives you access to. They are all top quality and super clean – I saw loads my two would love.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really considered joining a toy library, but if I think about the amount of toys at our house that don’t get played with, I can really see the benefit. Given our two play with something for a couple of weeks and then get bored of it, it’s a great way to regularly bring new toys home, and then refresh them. Especially those big bulky ones, like indoor tents, little tykes cars etc. These take up masses of space, but if you have them on a 2 week loan then they can be played with and then returned (and hired again later if required). There’s even large outdoor toys available for hire.

During the spring to autumn, outdoor sensory sessions take place, and in the summer, fun and physical sessions take place at Conyngham Hall – we’ll definitely be trying these out.

All in all it’s a brilliantly run group and toy library, and if you’re looking for a super friendly place to go, please try this. It’s all not for profit and all aimed at the community – hats off to all the volunteers behind the scenes, and to Rachael and Lauren.

The best way to keep up to date is via the Harrogate & Knaresborough Toy Library Facebook page.


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