How does it work?
Who can use the Toy Library?
The Toy Library operates in the Harborough District and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire and can be used by families and play settings.
What kind of toys can we borrow?
There are a wide range of toys that can help children in all areas of their development. We also have a selection of specialist toys and equipment for children with specific disabilities and additional learning needs. The toys are split in to different sections these include:
- Puzzles and Shape Sorters
- Cause and Effect
- Language and Literacy
Membership is open to all families, organisations, groups or individuals in the Harborough District and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston. Our toys can support the development of children with conditions such as autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Asperger’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, hearing and visual impairment, and children who may need extra support with their physical and language development.
How Does It Work?
Unlike a static toy library, we are mobile and are able to deliver the toys out into the community, including family homes, pre-schools, community groups, nurseries and childminders. This means that members can borrow large specialist toys and that all areas of the district are covered. A pre-arranged rota for toy delivery means that members borrow toys for a period of 4-6 weeks and exchange the toys for new ones at the end of that period.
Is there a cost for using the Toy Library?
No – membership is free but we may ask members to pay for toy replacement if they are lost or broken and we are unable to mend them as we have limited funds.
How Many Toys can I borrow?
Organisations can borrow 4 items per month and families can borrow 2 items.
Terms and Conditions for using the Toy Library
It is each member’s responsibility to:
- To have the toys ready for collection, in a clean condition
- To ensure that the toys can be collected on the date arranged
Please note that in loaning the item/s from this Toy Library, this establishment does not accept any responsibility for any accident or injury that may occur due to improper use of such equipment. It is the parent/carer’s responsibility to ensure that children are supervised at all times whilst this equipment is being used.
Additionally, please note that the responsibility for the toys remains with the member whilst in their possession and may have to be paid for if they are broken.
Get Started Guides
Children learn and make sense of the world through play. It is really important that they have the chance to access appropriate play opportunities that stimulate and encourage their development. We have split our toys into different categories to help you choose the most appropriate toys for your children. Please see the descriptions below:
Sensory play is a term used to describe any activities that appeal to one or more of the five senses. It can be divided in to five broad categories; sight, sound, taste, touch and smell, and is a valuable way to enrich learning and development. Sensory play is how children naturally start to make sense of the world – from birth children explore the world around them by looking, listening, touching, tasting and smelling.
Sensory play is important for all young children but it can be particularly beneficial for children with additional needs such as a sensory impairment or autism as it can help to stimulate the brain, improving sensory processing systems, co-ordination and motor skills. It can also be a valuable tool in helping to calm children down when they are agitated.
For ideas on low cost ways to encourage sensory play at home please see the resources section on our website.
Some of our sensory toys are split into specific subcategories such as ‘Visual’ and ‘Sound’ and some are multi-sensory.
It is vitally important that children are encouraged to have healthy and active lifestyles. For young children it is a natural part of play crawling, rolling, running, jumping, pushing and pulling helps children to build strong bones and muscles, develop balance and co-ordination and build confidence and self-esteem. We have a wide range of physical toys that will encourage children to be more active both independently and as part of group play.
For ideas on low-cost ways to encourage physical play please see our resources section.
Fine Motor Skills
When we talk about developing fine motor skills in young children we are really talking about encouraging them to use their hands and develop their ability to do intricate and detailed tasks. This can include many things such as reaching and picking up, learning to feed themselves, turning knobs, pressing buttons, shaking, threading, and constructing. Developing fine motor skills in young children is really important as it helps to strengthen the muscles in the hands and develop hand-eye co-ordination. It also aids concentration and problem-solving skills and is crucial in preparing them for when they go to school.
We have a wide variety of toys that encourage the development of fine motor skills for early years children.
Language and Communication
Speech and language development is about learning to listen, understand and communicate verbally and non-verbally. This is crucial as it helps children make sense of the world around them and communicate their needs to others. It then in turn helps them develop social skills and aids the development of relationships by building confidence. For this reason, speech and language development is vital in building a strong foundation for school.
Our selection of toys includes books, story sacks, games and imaginary play.
If you still need further help with choosing toys for your child contact our co-ordinator on: 01455 209447 or by using the form on our contact page.
This section includes links to toy suppliers and local organisations that our members may find useful. If you have information that you would like us to include please let our co-ordinator know.
www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/ – Sensory toy specialists
www.theglowhouse.com – Sensory toy specialists
www.mikeayresdesign.co.uk – Sensory toy specialists
www.rompa.com – specialist sensory toys
www.sensoryplus.co.uk – One of the UK’s leading sensory equipment providers
www.spacekraft.co.uk – Sensory solutions, toys and equipment
www.specialdirect.com – A wide range of toys and equipment to help children with additional learning needs including Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Speech and Language, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia
www.storysack.com – Storysacks
Useful Information and Resources
www.senteacher.org – Learning resources for Special Educational Needs Teachers but can be useful at home
www.leicestershireautisticsociety.org.uk – Local support for families
www.positiveaboutautism.co.uk – Information resource about Autism including training, a monthly newsletter and resources
www.mumstop.co.uk – special Mumstop is a group designed specifically for parents and carers of babies and preschool children with additional needs in Market Harborough.
www.home-startsouthleics.org.uk/ – Support for families with young children in South Leicestershire
www.menphys.org.uk – Providing holistic, person-centred, impartial support to children and young people aged 0-19 with disabilities; complex health and special educational needs and their families; including family support, benefits advice and