by Sheila Wathen /
Recently I heard about a service that lets you rent Lego sets like you rent DVDs from Netflix.
Yes, really. You pay a monthly fee, start a queue of desired Lego sets, and one is mailed to you. You can keep the set as long as you like, and it is no big deal if you loose a few bricks (up to 15). Return the set for a new one, or if your kid falls in love with it, you can purchase it for a reduced price.
Actually there are at least two places that do this: Pley.com and Toygaroo.com. Their plans range in price from $15/month to $39/month. Given that buying a Lego set in the store can run between $25-$120, this may make sense for some families.
I also found at least one online company that rent kid’s toys in the same manner. Sparkbox.com (ages 0-4) has you pay a monthly fee ($24-36), get a few great toys each month or two, let the kids play until they are tired of them, then exchange for a different set.
For those of you who are really worried about germs, you will be happy to know that all toys sent out by all of these companies go through a very stringent, 3-part sanitation process between shipping. I’m sure they do a much better job at sanitizing than I ever did with the toys my kids bought at garage sales.
Toystrunk.com (ages 0-5) is a Canadian program that works in a similar way but you rent each toy separately for either 2 or 4 weeks at a time. It is worth noting that Toygaroo, featured on the Shark Tank TV show, and TOYconomy have both closed up shop, and BabyPlays.com has moved to selling instead of renting toys, indicating that perhaps there isn’t the audience necessary for this type of company to flourish.
I’m curious: what do you think of this idea? I think it could work for some families, but wonder if the cost is really worth it. I know for many families a better option is toy-swapping and garage-saling. Our local libraries even lend out some toys for free, such as puppets. If you did not have any storage space AND had kids who craved variety, I could see toy rental plans as an option. Plus, if your kid did fall in love with something you didn’t expect, at least you had the option to find it at a cheaper price or buy it from the rental company.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Sheila Wathen works as a teacher, webmaster & technology consultant. For fun she enjoys singing in her church choir, doing yoga and researching her family history. She loves to help people discover new ways to use and understand technology. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Ohio and Pennsylvania before settling in Lenawee County in 1999 with husband Steve and daughter Leah.by