Home > How to Make a Difference in 15 Minutes > Donate Toys to Inspire Children

Donate Toys to Inspire Children

by Cathy Rogers
The Challenge

When you donate toys to needy or sick children, you provide inspiration and a glimmer of hope.

Without sufficient toys and books, children don't develop necessary motor skills, says the National Institute for Early Education Research. Studies also show that infant toys are critical for brain growth that affects learning later in life. Because play is essential for children to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives, all children need at least simple toys like balls, blocks, costumes, and crayons.

Older children without toys are more likely to be involved in fighting or other negative behaviors. On the other hand, when a neglected child receives a game or toy donation, he can develop necessary social skills, such as sharing.

There are about 45 million needy children in the U.S. who live in low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. These children have little inspiration for the imaginative, fulfilled lives that all children deserve. When you donate a toy to a needy child, you provide a positive outlet for the child's energy and creativity.

Needy children with chronic health conditions are at especially high risk. Days spent in hospitals and clinics can be long and lonely. Often, the environment is sterile and bleak. Tests and sometimes painful treatments occupy their days. Your donation of art supplies, stuffed animals, or board games can brighten an impersonal room or provide entertainment.

With just a simple toy, you can make a world of difference in the life of a needy or sick child.

How to Make a Difference I Did This!
Close Window

To donate a toy to a needy child:

  • Drop off a toy donation at a social service agency or homeless shelter near your home. Check your phone book under "social (or human) service organizations." Or use this link to find a social service agency.
  • Donate new toys during the holiday season to the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots.
  • Donate toys online through Family Giving Tree’s Virtual Tree. In addition to fulfilling holiday wishes, the group also sponsors a Back to School drive for needy kids.
  • See if your local Head Start program accepts gently-used toys for its early childhood classrooms or for needy families.

To donate toys to a sick child:

  • Donate new toys, books, and games to your local Ronald McDonald House.
  • Donate board games your family no longer uses to a local children's hospital.
  • The Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., keeps "Dr. Bear's Toy Closet" stocked with toys and games for young patients. The medical center provides guidelines and suggestions of the most appropriate and requested items.

If you have children that receive an abundance of gifts at Christmas and birthdays, consider starting a tradition of sharing. Encourage your kids to re-gift one of their many presents to less fortunate children; or at least, ask your children to donate toys they have outgrown, if those toys are in good condition and still in their original packaging.

Spread the Word