Renting children’s toys, is a trend that is not extremely popular right now, but may become increasingly popular in the future. How many parents have ever thought about renting toys? Well at least one parent did, hence we have sites like BabyPlays, BrickRental, Rent-A-Toy, ToyBox etc.
BabyPlays is a website where parents can choose from over 200 different toys for children up to 5 years-old. The company stocks up to 30 models of each toy.
Subscribers to this service generate a list online and a box of toys is sent to their home. When they are finished with the current set of toys, they send the toys back and wait for the next shipment. This process is similar to the system used by the very popular Netflix DVD rental service. BabyPlays currently offers four plans with prices ranging from $34.99 to $64.99 per month. These plans require a three month commitment and include four to 10 toys per month.
It is understandable that parents want their children to experience a variety of educational toys as well as toys just for fun. BabyPlays also understands that it is not necessary to invest money in a variety of toys that your child will out grow or may become bored with in a short period of time. This makes renting toys a good alternative for many parents.
This idea of renting toys is good for parents who feel like they are wasting money on buying toys that they don’t need to keep. They may also feel that they don’t want to clutter their house with things they don’t need. However this program is certainly not intended to replace the classic toys that children will want to keep forever. Instead it provides the opportunity to have a continuous flow of stimulating toys that children will want to play with.
BrickRental offers Lego toys on rent. They have two schemes, one allowing rental of six toys and the other of 12 toys in a year. They send and pick up toys using USPS free of charge.
At a time, they send only one toy. You can keep the toy for as long as you want. (Of course, knowing how children are, you can be sure the games will not remain for long in your home.) However, they will not send the next toy until you return the first toy.
Rent-a-toy is another popular site. The best part of this site is that they allow you to take upto 8 toys at a time! And just like the other sites, you can keep the toys for as long as you want. Another good feature is that you can even buy the toy if your child doesn’t want to part with the toy, ever – a sort of “try-before-you-buy” thing.
One issue that has come up is cleanliness. How clean are the toys? As parents, you will definitely be worried about germs and diseases that could get transmitted via these toys. However, most of these businesses claims that their toys are cleaned with a sanitation product that is used in some hospitals and day care centers. After cleaning, the toys are then shrink-wrapped to stay clean during storage and shipment.
So, the question is: Are the major toy retailers concerned about this new venture catching on and increasing? So far major retailers such as KB toys and Toy’s R US, don’t seemed to be fazed by this new trend. Even if it does gain a slightly larger consumer base, the toy industry is a multibillion dollar industry, so major toy retailers will probably not be effected by this new trend.