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Black Earth Children’s Museum opens Toy Library

Children play inside the Black Earth Children's Museum's Toy Library.
Children play inside the Black Earth Children's Museum's Toy Library.(Erin Sullivan WMTV)
Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 2:54 PM CDT
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BLACK EARTH, Wis. (WMTV) - The ongoing quest to keep your child stimulated can break the bank, especially when they get bored of their own toys. The Black Earth Children’s Museum may have a solution: the Toy Library.

It works exactly as you’d expect. Kids can now come pick out a bag-full of toys to take home for 2-4 weeks and then return them when they’re done.

“It’s a win for parents, it’s a win for the community and I think it’s a win for the environment too,” said Karen Carlock, the Founder & Executive Director of the Black Earth Children’s Museum.

All the toys are cleaned before and after check-out. There are items for infants, toddlers and 5–8-year old’s as well. Carlock explained that play is key to helping children learn new skills.

“All of these items in some way shape or form are enriching at the right developmental stage,” said Carlock.

All the gently used toys were donated by 30-40 community members and so far, families are loving the concept.

“As a parent I really like the idea of being able to get a new-to-us toy without having to actually go to the store and spend money,” said Becca Thompson, a mother from Mount Horeb.

Her six and eight-year-old children have been members of the Black Earth Children’s Museum since it opened in 2017. She said they love the added bonus of now getting to take something home after a day of play at the museum.

“It’s nice to be able to use it for a week or two and then give it back, because in reality children bore of toys pretty quickly and so it’s nice to be able to give it back and then pick out something new,” said Thompson.

Not only does Thompson like the idea of recycling toys, but also decreasing waste.

“When we get new toys from the store there’s usually as much packaging if not more than the actual toy itself, so I appreciate being able to bring something home without waste going in the garbage,” said Thompson.

With the holiday’s coming, Carlock said this is a cost-effective way to get the kids something different and teach them to give back and share with others.

The Toy Library is included with any annual membership at the children’s museum. If you’re not a member, it’s $40 a year. If money is a problem, Carlock said to contact her and see what they can do.

Donations of gently used toys are still being accepted for the Toy Library as well.

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