Places to Donate Your Child’s Old Toys

| December 31, 2012 | 81 Comments

Girl holding a white teddy bearNow that the holiday has passed and all the presents have been opened, are you finding that your child’s room is a little more cluttered than usual? That probably means it’s time to clear out some of the extra toys and things that your child has grown too old for or gotten bored with. The question is what to do with them? Obviously you can throw away toys that are broken or coloring books that have all the pages colored in, but what about the toys that are in good shape, just no longer right for your child? A good solution is to donate them somewhere, where other children can make good use of them. Here are some suggestions for where to donate your child’s old toys.

  • Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald Houses provide lodging for families that have to travel to get medical treatment for a child. They’re a wonderful organization, and if you have one in your area, they can almost certainly make good use of your child’s outgrown toys. Many families must travel with the sick child’s siblings, and one of the things that a Ronald McDonald House provides is a playroom for the siblings of the child who is getting treatment. This is an excellent way to support their work.
  • Women’s Shelters. The organizations that run shelters for women who have left abusive relationships are often operating on tiny, insufficient budgets. Meanwhile, the women and children who end up in the shelters aren’t bringing many of the comforts of home along with them. By donating to them, you’re helping children who really need to be able to play and feel happy and safe while coping with a difficult situation. You should also consider donating to homeless shelters. Many families with children do end up in shelters, and again, they usually bring very little with them. Women’s shelters and homeless shelters are often passed over as toy donation sites, and they can definitely make use of your child’s old toys.
  • Police and Fire Departments. Unfortunately, there are times when a police officer or firefighter must comfort a child who has been injured or who is frightened. For this reason, it isn’t uncommon for the police or firefighters to carry small toys with them. Stuffed animals are usually what is used in this situation. If you find yourself with an array of unwanted stuffed animals, contacting your local police or fire departments to see if they can use the toys could be a great thing to do.

You may not be aware of it, but research shows that books and toys are vital for children to develop normally. Infants need toys to help them properly develop brain growth and motor skills. Older children without toys are more likely to become involved in fights and otherwise exhibit behavior problems. By donating toys that will go to the children who need them most, you’re contributing to giving a child a healthier and happier life.

Comments (81)

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  1. Thank you for this post! My daughter has so many toys and I feel bad separating from them but I know they should go to a child who really needs them. I never knew where to take them other than the salvation army (but people have to purchase them there..), so thank you for this list. Now I know where they are needed the most. 🙂

  2. Niki Mattes says:

    Good to know, thanks!

  3. Chrystal D says:

    I never thought about the Police & Fire Depts. Thanks for this!

  4. Nena Sinclair says:

    This is something I always did with my kids prior to Christmas. Also, some Children’s hospitals will take them and community play groups, too.

  5. Jennifer Johansen says:

    We usually donate to Tacoma’s Toy Rescue Mission, which provides toys to low income families who qualify for WIC. I love the police and fire department idea, though! We’ll look into that!

  6. Deborah D says:

    What a great story! now i knowwhere to take the toys.

  7. krystel says:

    awww look at the adorable kidss

  8. Jane Ritz says:

    This is good information.My daughter was going to just throw away her sons old toys. I had fit. We then donated to the children;s Shelter. I’d never thought about the fire dept.

  9. Karen Glatt says:

    I did not know that you could donate your child’s old toys to The Ronald McDonald house. I have some really good condition puzzle sets that are made out of wood. I think that I will take these there. Thanks for letting me know about where to donate!

  10. Kathy Idol says:

    I have donated to a woman shelter before but have never thought of the other places you mention. I will keep them in mind cause I am always finding things packed here and there that I finally want to get rid of.

  11. Kimberly R. says:

    what a great story , its always helpful to know stuff like this.

  12. Kat says:

    i love giving away small tokens. For instance, this year we donate our used clothes to the church. I wish i could buy nice toys and gave it out…

  13. Jan Messali says:

    I really appreciate this post. This is the perfect time of year to clean out the outgrown toys. We have a Ronald McDonald house near, so I will check with them. Thanks!

  14. Andrea Byrne says:

    Thanks! We have a gazillion toys we need to get rid of, and I would just hate to throw them away!

  15. natasha brodsky says:

    Since we just had Christmas we are looking to go out with the old and in with the new. Thanks for this post.

  16. Kambrea says:

    Great ideas for places to donate. Most people don’t think about these.

  17. Thank you. Great ideas!

  18. rochelle haynes says:


  19. juli guthrie says:

    Thanks for the reminder about RMHC. I was a sibling there once and they are FANTASTIC.

  20. krista grandstaff says:

    Thank you for sharing these great ideas…honestly, I just donate them to Goodwill and never really gave the other options any thought… now I know better alternatives 🙂 ( I just assumed that these places would only want new things, etc)

  21. Rhea Stogsdill Chladek says:

    Great ideas! I would just stick to the nicer old toys when donating to these places!

    🙂 Rhea Stogsdill Chladek

  22. Keisa Rogers says:

    Thanks so much for this post my girls always have tons of toys and i hate giving them to the good will where they jake the prices up on them and sell them.Thanks again.

  23. cathy henatyszen says:

    This is great info to pass along to your followers, there are many great places people can donate their unwanted things too, not only toys

  24. deena vanbergen says:

    Ehat a great option, thanks!

  25. Each of the suggestions for donating toys are very honorable. Another idea could be doctors and dentists’ offices whom serve a lot of children and families.



  27. Rox says:

    Thanks for the ideas! I have a whole bunch of gently loved toys ready for a new home 🙂

  28. Kathy Smith says:

    Thanks for post of donating toys. I never thought of women’s shelter, that is such a great place to donate. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Sprinkle says:

    Great i dint know there were such great places to make donations. Thanks for letting know. 🙂

  30. Cyndi N says:

    We always donate our gently used toys to our local pregnancy care center. It’s so nice to know that some new mama (or an experienced one) will be able to use them for their little ones. We try to do it at least 3 times per year. It definitely keeps the toy clutter to a minimum lol!

  31. Stephanie Larison says:

    These are great ideas, thanks for sharing. I was always wondering where I could take my daughters old toys, I didn’t think there were many options since they were open and already played with.

  32. Amad Shafer says:

    There e various places to leave toys for Christmas. Christmas Cheer, Toy for Tots an alo the Marines collect toys to help children with no Christmas! I tryto donate whn I have the fund consideig I hae an 11 year oldsn d a 16 year old daughter. When we are abl to donae they love to help:)

  33. Amanda Shafer says:

    There are many paces to ta donted toys for Chritmas. I usualy take mine toys for ytots after getting an angel of the angel tree, also there iaorgnzatin calle Chritmas cheer, the Mariesal hlpoys f childen need for Christmas.

  34. Amanda Shafer says:

    Christmas Cheer, Toys for Tots and the arines help with donations. I also help when I am able to:)

  35. Gloria Walshver says:

    I gave my kid’s old toys to neighbors some threw away.

  36. Wendy Mastin says:

    I love teaching our children to give back. This is what we all need to teach each other. Thank you.

  37. Diana Wright says:

    I donated grown out of toys to the neighborhood children without and bought a few things for them (have boys no girls until feb so bought a few for the girls too)my children have a light hand so all toys were just like brand new) loved the sparkle in their little eyes when i and my boys handed them out <3

  38. Shawna says:

    We donated any toys that were in good working order to the Women’s Shelter. They were so thankful for the items. They even sent my son a letter thanking him for his generosity. He thought that was the best part!

  39. Patricia Oliver says:

    Thank you so much for this great advice/article.

  40. Melissa Miller says:

    Thanks for the tips! My son is a newly turned teen, so we’ve got quite a bit of weeding out to do!

  41. Mary Dailey says:

    Some great ideas. I always love the idea of kids getting almost new toys. I would rather donate them so I would know they are going to children who really needed them.

  42. Tawnya V. says:

    Love doing this… I get my children involved, they go through their things and find what they don’t play with anymore and we donate it to children that don’t have as much… It helps them and makes us all feel good doing it.

  43. Danna Wolf says:

    One issue I’ve always run into, though, is that most places will not accept used toys- only new ones (I guess for sanitary reasons?). Do you know what the policy is for these organizations?

  44. krysal says:

    thats a good idea

  45. Beth Hargett says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I give to animal shelters and such but hadn’t thought of these three places to give toys that are still in great shape! Now I will know who to contact

  46. Fiona Hoosaney says:

    Good To Know! 😉

  47. Nicole Stewart says:

    This is very helpful! Thank you!

  48. bianca roman says:

    I always donate to Goodwill or Salvation and never thought to donate to the Ronald McDonald house or to the police/firefighters..because it’s not an ‘obvious choice’ you know?

    We have a local Ronald McDonald house downtown, so I’m going to look into that along with the local police/fire department!

    Thanks for making us aware!

  49. Rachael says:

    Great ideas! It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach our kids about the joy of giving!

  50. Meghan says:

    Great post! I wanted to add also that local programs like Early Head Start, Healthy Families or family’s using a in-home nurse from Public Health or any other family programs in your area do Christmas Sponsors for the families that are really low income. Sometimes families don’t get sponsors and I found out one year(because we were one of those families) that they really needed breast feeding supplies and some other things of which I just happened to have extra on hand that I wasn’t using. Although some stuff was used I made sure it was lightly used (worn once) and gave it to them so the family wouldn’t go with nothing. So its a good thing to check because they also take donations. Healthy Families in my area have given me lots of great baby furniture I desperately needed and couldn’t afford! Also some hospitals could also use donations for families that need to stay because their infants are in the NICU.

  51. Heidi J. Sisco says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am always looking for places to donate old toys. I have given some to the nursery at our local church, but I hadn’t thought of some of these places, so thanks for the suggestions.

  52. Stephanie from CT says:

    Some really good ideas, since now after christmas I have a lot of stuff to donate, that missed toys for tots.

  53. Holly Trudeau says:

    These are great tips! I have so many toys that my son doesn’t play with any more, I’d love for other children to enjoy them as much as he did! Just can’t bring myself to throw anything in the trash when I know another child could get joy out of it! 🙂

  54. Mary Kidd says:

    Great information. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. 🙂

  55. Danielle says:

    i will definitely donate some stuff especially food. Everyone in our family are fat and there’s just too much food here – New Year Resolution

  56. roberta says:

    this is good information! I don’t have kids, yet, but I do like to donate “essentials” to women’s shelters, things I’ve been able to get with sales combined with coupons. Sometimes Enfamil has coupons that let you get a can of infant formula for just a few cents at Walmart. I like to donate those to my church food pantry.

  57. Dianna Thomas says:

    Great–thanks for sharing this because always have things that are so nice but not wanted any longer

  58. Karen English says:

    This is wonderful information since my grandsons have waaaaaaay too many toys. I know my daughter spent good money on them so dont want to just toss them.

  59. bill elliott says:

    This is a great idea, my Grandchildren have alot of older toys they no longer play with and are in great shape. I will get a hold of my son and work on donating some of these.

  60. cole mckinnon says:

    I donate my granddaugters toys, clothing, etc. to the Boys and Girls Club of America. they are around in most cities and are happy to schedule a pick-up, expecially if you have bicycles, scooters, etc.

  61. Aphrodisiastes says:

    Oh, this is a great and precious information. Thank you so much for this post. Now I can help other children to have fun with toys.

  62. deb p says:

    This a good idea, so helpful, thanks.

  63. Stephanie from CT says:

    I hate throwing things out that people can use, I try to get my kids involved in giving away their toys too, so they understand that others don’t have what they have.

  64. Jenn says:

    I love the idea to donate to the women;s shelter. We just took a huge donation to the Children;s Justice Center in our area and they were thrilled

  65. Lisa R says:

    Thanks for these tips on where to donate, I never thought of them i usually go to the bin and never know if they’re really put to good use

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

  66. Rama says:

    Thanks for sharing!!! I usually donate to toys for tots, I didn’t know you can donate to fire departments, there is 1 right down the street from where i live 🙂

  67. denise smith says:

    thanks for sharing i always donate to the good will or a local charity thanks so much for the post

  68. laurie nykaza says:

    It is wonderful to bring attention to wear things we would normally just get rid of really can be used to help a child. My kids go through toys like crazy so this would be so helpful to know they could be used by an organization in helping kids. Will share this information with my friends.

  69. margaret (peg)m says:

    my daughter has 2 girls, 2 and 1, and the 3 of them barely can fit in the family room anymore…what a super idea to donate the toys that they can. we have a ronald mcdonald house about 10 mi. away. thanks.

  70. Jo Ann Moffatt says:

    I had two sons and as they have grown up I always found good places to donate the toys they had outgrown. Doctor offices, hospital waiting rooms, dental offices and the Crisis Nursery are just a few of the places dontated to. I didn’t look at them as used but “well-loved”.

  71. Darlene Jones-Nelson says:

    I donate my kids older toys right before xmas this way there rooms are cleaned for the newer toys. I donate them to the domestic violence womens shelter for the kids who maybe having a rough time.

  72. Karen Tecklenburg says:

    I got some really good ideas from this. Thanks

  73. Kate F. says:

    Thanks for the helpful information. There’s a women’s shelter near me I could donate to.

  74. Tina says:

    Thank you so much for posting this because I was wondering where I could donate my son’s old toys that he does not play with any more and now I know. Thank you so much.

  75. Renata S says:

    Kids are growing and always leaving toys behind. Most are like new. I donate it to a church nearby, almost every month.

  76. Sherry J says:

    Thanks for posting this,my niece and son have so many toys we don’t know what to do with them all,this post helps alot,thanks.

  77. Karen Hand says:

    What a great article I have several stuffed animals which I no longer can use, so donating them to the organizations that you mentioned is a good idea. Thanks – it is important to give back.

  78. lisa says:

    How timely.I was just wondering what to do with an upstairs full of toys.Ronald McDonald House was there for us when my son was very ill several years ago.I had forgotten about them. Thanks!

  79. saminder gumer says:

    thanks for the list. i knew some of them, but we have so many toys that are old and this would be a great way to get them out of the house.

  80. Donna George says:

    Also low income schools, if the toys has no small parts and stuff. I always brought my son’s used toys for my students to play with. Yeah, they got wrecked, but at least they were well used.

  81. Paula V says:

    Donating old toy items is a great idea. Our children these days collect so many toys from birthdays and holidays and yet so many are in need of them.

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