Service for Young Children: Donate Toys

During the holidays, we donate gently used toys we no longer need to children who may not have as much as we do.

Another thing we try to do each holiday season is revisit our abundance and decide which things we no longer need. We donate toys, as well as books and clothes, that we no longer need. When we donate gently used toys, we give others the chance to enjoy them more than we do. Donating toys encourages young children to be grateful for what they already have.

The Who, What, and Where of Toy Donation

In the early years of my son’s life, I frequently found birthday presents and Christmas gifts from garage sales and thrift stores. It was what I could afford! Now that we frequently purchase gifts elsewhere, it is time to give back by donating our no-longer-needed toys and books.

Here are some nation-wide (and some local-to-me) donation centers for you to consider.

  • Goodwill. This organization sells the donated items and provides jobs for those who need job rehabilitation.
  • Salvation Army. This organization sells the donated items and provides jobs for those who need them.
  • Sparrow’s Nest. This Chicago-land donation center first provides the items to woman and children in shelters that may need it before selling it to the public. Funds support those in the homes.
  • Donation Town. This organization will pick up your donated toys for free.

Also consider finding the following:

  • Local shelters.
  • Libraries. Books are resold to support the library programs.
  • Local hospitals.
  • Foster care. Contact your local social services to find out their needs for toys for those in foster care.

Donating Toys with Young Children

I like to have the children help me decide what we will donate. We go through things together and decide which books we don’t like to read, which clothes are not needed, and which toys are no longer enjoyed.

That said, this year it has been difficult for my preschooler to donate toys. She is incredibly attached to the things right now. I believe it is just a matter of being 4 years old! I keep putting items in the donation box, and she takes them out to now play with it!

It is not always easy to give up things that we like. It has opened up conversations about what we have and what others may not have. Such conversations do not necessarily make it easier for her to give things up, but we are learning together.

Besides, I personally know what will be entering our house at Christmas time so I don’t feel too bad!

It is not always easy to give up toys but when I encourage my young children to donate what they no longer need, they help others and learn to be less selfish.


In summary, here’s the scoop.

Service: Choose gently used toys, clothes, and books and donate them to thrift shops or other locations that may need them.

Cost: Free (giving up owned items)

Time investment: varies depending on how long it takes to clean house!

More Ideas

This post is the second in my mini-series, 5 Days of Christmas Service for a Family with Young Children. Check back tomorrow and each day this week for the rest of the series!

Get your children in the giving mood with this mini-series: 5 Days of Christmas Service for Families with Young Children

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