Charity Shop Toys

It is mid-term break from school this week and the weather has been pretty cold and wet. So instead of staying in all day, one of the mornings I decided to give the kids €10 each and bring them shopping to a number of charity shops in the area. To say they were excited about this idea was an understatement! I wasn’t sure how it would work out if I’m honest, but it was great!

We went to five charity shops in Dundrum: Oxfam and The Dundrum Village Charity Shop (Women’s Aid) on the Main Street, Vincent’s on the corner at the Luas Bridge and then Human Appeal and the Sue Ryder Foundation on the Dundrum Road opposite from Vincent’s. They struck it lucky in nearly all of them. Books, board games, dragons, a drum and a skate board were among the purchases.

I think the thrill of it for them was rooting around and looking at all the different wierd and wonderful things. It was a good lesson in spending their money wisely. They were asking the shop assistants the prices, figuring out what they would spend their money on and working out how much money they had left.

When my 5 year old found a skate board, he was ecstatic! When he produced his find to me, he said he would give away some of his toys so that he could buy it! He didn’t realise that it was within his budget as it was only €1. His excitement was unreal. It made his day.

Skate Board, Dragons, Drum, Board Game

They didn’t end up spending all their money. They spent a total of €14.50. I’m not sure they would have had much change from €10 in any other toy shops in Dublin or have as much to show for it.

Also there are lots of things in charity shops that you just don’t see any more. I found a beautiful Peter Pan board game in Vincent’s which looked interesting. Neither of the kids were prepared to part with their money for it so I thought I’d buy it (€4) to check it out with them at home. Google told me afterwards that it was produced in 1989. This is why I like shopping in charity shops – you never know what you might find.

Vintage Peter Pan Board Game for €4

Buying second hand toys may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I get that. It’s probably the matter of cleanliness that is the main concern (although my kids couldn’t have cared less). But if you think about it, how many kids have played with the toys and books in the school classroom over the years? Or in the creche or Montessori? Or in the indoor play areas?

I’m not immune to these concerns and I try to steer towards those that are in good condition or can be easily sterilised or cleaned. I have found that kids jigsaws, craft sets, board games, DVDs and books have, by and large, been in good condition. Some have even been new and unopened. I have a bottle of Milton sterilising fluid for any plastic toys. I don’t like to get any teddies or soft toys even though they can be washed in the washing machine or put in the freezer. They have too many teddies as it is anyway!

I’ve only started going to charity shops recently since becoming more interested in living more sustainably. I have found that some charity shops are better than others in how organised they are and the quality of the things they have. If you haven’t checked out your local charity shops in a while then go see what they are like and what they have to offer. Don’t knock shopping in charity shops until you’ve tried shopping in charity shops. Whats the worst that can happen? You leave the shop without buying anything? You get a jigsaw for €2 that is missing pieces? What’s the best that can happen? Maybe you have a fun morning with kids on a cold day, find a few hidden treasures, spend less than €20 and support a good cause and help the environment! I think it’s worth trying.

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