Rent the ToyChest: Seattle’s Newest (and Easiest) Way to Play & Learn
• Jennifer B Davis
Toys: Wonderful, magical, thought-provoking, entertaining, expensive, toys. They always seem to be underfoot, yet there’s never enough if you ask the munchkins. What’s a parent to do? Rent some, that’s what! Read on for the inside scoop on this innovative new Seattle company that is making learning and playing fun without the fuss of buying and storing.
photo: Austin Lloyd
The Philosophy Behind the Company
Founded by Karen Whittier, a former pre-school teacher, Rent the ToyChest was conceived as a way to help young children play more. According to Whittier, “play is the way young children learn and parents, of course, want the best for their children however toys can be quite expensive and children grow quickly.” To help bridge the gap between kids “growing out” of their toys and piling up and the thought behind toys being an essential component to learning, Rent the Toy Chest was born as the perfect solution for kids and adults alike.
Benefits of Renting
Rent the ToyChest gives grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents and parents the opportunity to support play in their special child’s life with a variety of high quality toys—-minus the high cost of purchasing to own or the necessity of having a lot of storage space. It’s also an easy way to reuse, reduce and recycle. (What family doesn’t want to hear that?). And it gives parents the luxury of providing high quality, name-brand toys for their kids that not only spark imagination and foster creativity, but encourage social development. A win-win in our book!
photo: Rent the ToyChest puzzles
How it Works
Rent the ToyChest has made sign-up a snap. Simply log on to the website and peruse their variety of items such as dress-up clothes, puzzles, games, blocks, puppets, pretend play pieces and even aromatherapy dough. Decide on your favorites, and how long you’d like to rent them—2, 3 or even 4 weeks—and add them to you cart. Prices are listed for each item, and range from less than $2 to no more than $30 for some of the larger toys.
Check out using your credit card, and then review the calendar to choose a delivery date. Deliveries are scheduled in the morning and afternoon and personally delivered to your door by Whittier along with a smile and any needed instructions, parts or pieces. A day or so prior to delivery, you will receive product cards via email, outlining the details of each toy with photos and further “how-tos” (especially good for games).
Toys are well-packaged and clean (and since this service is just launching—most are still brand spankin’ new) as well as labeled and already opened—saving you the hassle of trying to figure out how to put something together or deal with a bunch of wasteful packaging materials.
photo: Karen Whittier
Power of Play
A self-proclaimed zealot when it comes to the importance of kids and play, Whittier (aka Teacher Karen) maintains that in addition to facilitating learning, play helps with pre-literacy skills and decreases the word gap. So what better way than by leveraging a cost-effective, convenient solution for more play opportunities like Rent the ToyChest.
Rent the ToyChest is currently servicing King County, but growth plans include branding into other Washington micro-markets. In the future, Whittier sees working with stay-at-homers or part-time workers to help service additional markets and is hoping to add a charitable component, providing new users with a free book of their own to keep.
photo: Jennifer Davis
Good to Know
1. Rent the Toy Chest classifies its toys by type not gender and is focused on providing toys for preschool-aged children.
2. Rent the ToyChest supports play (translate learning) with high quality toys that will encourage exploration and investigation, observation and experimentation, predicting and estimating, engagement and immersion and imagination and creating.
3. To guarantee toys are delivered in excellent condition, toys are cleaned, sterilized and disinfected with all-natural products. They are also inspected to insure all pieces are intact and in good working order and stored in sealed, reusable containers to stay clean until delivered to your home.
3. All toys are delivered and picked up, right to your front door. An adult must be available to sign for/verify the completeness of the order at delivery.
4. If you’ve chosen a morning or afternoon delivery window, that same window will be used for pick up.
Psst! Use promo code RT@RtT at checkout to receive free delivery on June 15, 2015. Offer good on a two-week rental.
What do you think of Rent the ToyChest? Will you be giving it a try? Let us know in the Comments below.
— Jennifer B. Davis