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Guest post by Sreeya Patil Wiesner​
For kids to get the most from their toys, you have to make a conscious effort to select the best ones for them. This is because toys play an important role in your children’s growth, well-being, and happiness.
1. Improve both gross and fine motor skills
Toys can help younger kids develop both their fine and gross motor skills. This, in turn, will enable them to explore and understand the world around them better. These skills will also help with their cognitive development.
2. Enhance hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a skill crucial for writing, drawing, playing sports, etc. Plastic and wooden toys that have to be constructed and sorted are great for improving this skill. These toys also improve their problem-solving skills and will enable them to feel happy whenever they are successful.
3. Improve your kids’ social skills
Toys that enable children to engage in pretend play will allow them to socialize and interact with you, other kids and adults. These skills will help them understand the importance of communication, cooperation, and connecting with others.
4. Introduce the concept of cause and effect
Lastly, action or reaction toys that pop up or make a sound when touched are effective in making toddlers and younger kids laugh and feel happy. They also improve their dexterity and understand the important idea of causality.
Whether you’re getting brand new or used toys for your children, choose ones that will have positive effects on their growth and development.
Sreeya Patil Wiesner is the founder of EcoToys in Dubai, UAE. She started her online toy store with an aim to provide healthy, safe and eco-friendly wooden toys to kids 0-6 years of age in the UAE.

PS 186 in Queens, NY loved working with Second Chance toys again this year and surpassing our collection goals! Our students worked hard to collect and clean over 650 toys to get them ready throughout the collection week. The administration, teachers, and families at our school donated generously to support the kids in our community. Toys went to Cienfuegos Foundation and the Jamaica Children's School (PS 312) both in Queens. We look forward to working together again next year!

Nothing shows the holiday spirit like giving to others. Urban Jungle Play was honored to partner with Second Chance Toys and Hoboken Jubilee to donate gently used toys to those in need. Parents were thrilled to both get rid of unplayed with items and more importantly teach the lesson of giving to their children. Dozens of toys were collected - over 5 flowing XL trash bags.  We hope this spirit can continue year round!

Over 70 gently loved toys were collected by the Saddle Brook Daisies and donated to Greater Bergen Community. So that other children could fully enjoy the toys, the troop made sure the toys were clean, plastic, had no missing parts and the batteries were operational,. While the children at Greater Bergen were the beneficiaries of these good-as-new toys, the Daisies were the beneficiaries of a valuable learning experience in helping others less fortunate. Accepting the toys are members of the Greater Bergen Community Action Program Cliffside Park team.

Over the many years that Westfield Pediatric Dental Group has been collecting toys with Second Chance Toys, they have kept thousands of plastic toys out of the landfills and put them into the hands of children in need. We have been able to count on their support year after year, and we are so grateful for the beautiful toys that have been given a second chance to bring smiles and learning to so many children. Pictured is Dr. Timothy McCabe with some of the toys they collected in December to benefit United Community Corporation in Newark.

Thanks to the kids and leaders of Cub Scout Pack 20 in Closter-Demarest​, NJ for their toy collection. Children at the Aposotolic Church in Newark were able to select from the toys to make their holidays brighter!

Collecting items for Second Chance Toys was a first endeavour for the New Hope-Solebury High School Key Club and they were thrilled with the experience. Every Friday after school from October through early December, a group of members would trek over to our elementary school to sort and clean toys and books which had been dropped off each week. The Key Club members also worked hard to create posters and get the word out about the fund drive to the district and the local community. This collection drive happened to coincide with Key Club’s annual Adopt-a-Child-for-the-Holidays program in which members of the school district and the community fulfill holiday wish lists of various local children and seniors in need. Understandably, the members were a bit nervous that they might not have enough helpers and enough donations to make a real difference to the Second Chance Toys organization. However, they recognized the importance of this initiative and worked to collect over 350 items. “It’s a good feeling to supply many happy children with toys that may have otherwise ended up in trash fills,” remarked one member.

Many thanks to Mary Schwander and Emilia Lengyl, advisers for Key Club, responsible for coordinating the volunteers and acting as the liaisons between the schools. And a special thanks to Laurie Palau of Simply B Organized, for putting this effort together by bringing the idea to New Hope-Solebury Schools and overseeing the collection.

A family counselor from the New York based Coalition on Adoptable Children knew that her client was worried that her daughter was not yet walking. So when her client was able to move to an apartment in which she and her daughters no longer had to share a bedroom, their family counselor brought over a few Second Chance Toys as a housewarming gift. One of the toys was an Activity Walker. The one year old immediately gravitated towards that particular toy when the family counselor arrived. The activities on the walker drew her in and she remained playing with it throughout the visit.  About a week later, the family counselor received a phone call from her client who had some exciting news that she wanted to share – with assistance from the walker toy, the one year old had taken her first steps!

We should never underestimate the power and importance of toys and play.

This holiday season Second Chance Toys was blessed to have 10 different Kidville locations collecting gently used plastic toys. In Manhattan, participating locations included the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown West, Union Square and FiDi. In the Bronx, the Riverdale location collected toys, In Brooklyn, they were collected at the Park Slope and Carroll Gardens locations, and in New Jersey, toys were collected in Montclair and Hoboken.

We are so grateful for the efforts of Kidville and for the impact they have had on hundreds of children in their local areas. They truly made a difference for children less fortunate. And for the children that donated their toys, there are invaluable life lessons too. According to Rammy Harwood, Co-Founder/President and CEO of Kidville, "Our collections teach selflessness, empathy and giving at an early age. By donating a once-loved toy of their own, children learn firsthand about the importance of giving and reuse," he continued.

What better way to instill and celebrate the true spirit of the holidays.

Pictured are some of the 300 toys that were picked up all over Manhattan by 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and delivered to Greater Harlem Healthy Start. The mothers were ecstatic. Thank you, Kidville!

Tashua Elementary School in Trumbull, CT has consistently collected with Second Chance Toys and always with great results!! They not only hold the collection outside their school, but in front of Town Hall as well. Pictured are just a few of the 645 toys they donated to Community Closet, the beneficiary of thousands of their toys over the years. A special thanks to Jim Sullivan for spearheading this at the school. And many thanks to the Tashua Elementary School community for their generosity. Nothing stops them. Not even the snow!!!

For a second year in a row, PS 132 The Conselyea School, demonstrated the generosity of their school community with an incredible donation of 1,500 toys. Danielle Sanchez, school parent and organizer of the collection, made this happen in a big way, with lots of outreach and promotion to the parent community. As a result, a truckload of toys was donated to various Ascend Schools, to be used for indoor recess and by school clinicians with the children. That’s
not all! There were more to be donated to P396K Special Education School, and Bushwick Parish United Methodist Church. Thankfully, our friends at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? were ready to volunteer with the pick-up and drop-off of this enormous collection of toys. We are so grateful to Danielle and her team of hardworking parents, Thea Z., Suzanne P., and Christian P., who dedicated their time to sorting toys, along with the support of PS 132’s Principal Ms. Lubeck, Parent Coordinator Ms. Bach, and Head Custodian, Tommy. What a winning team!!

A first-time collection in Blairstown, NJ yielded great results-- over 600 toys collected! Donations were gathered through the Blairstown Museum, and spearheaded by volunteer extraordinaire Brianna Miller (pictured). Together with Brianna, a team of volunteers gathered to clean and distribute the toys throughout Warren County. Thank you, Blairstown!

For several years now, Ridgewood Savings Bank has been collaborating with Second Chance Toys to collect for children in NYC. Over the years they have donated hundreds of toys. This holiday, Amral Khan once again coordinated a bank-wide collection. Through the generosity of its employees, Ridgewood Savings Bank was able to donate 300 toys to Cienfuegos Foundation in Queens.

The toys have made a real difference this holiday for the children we serve" exclaimed Bethania Perkins, director of Cienfuegos Foundation. "We are so grateful for the bank's efforts to help the community. Some of the children had not had a reason to smile for a long time. The bank’s efforts helped bring many smiles, much laughter and cheer into their lives and they could concentrate on being children," she continued.

Thank you Ridgewood Savings Bank.

We all know how new toys magically find their way to good little girls and boys for the holidays. But did you ever stop to wonder how so many gently-used plastic toys get into the hands of those that need them? Most collectors with 50-100 toys work out arrangements with their matched organizations for pickup or drop-off. But when we have a collection of several hundred to over a thousand toys, who can we always count on for their generosity of time, trucks and manpower.... our friends at 1-800- GOT-JUNK?

For close to 10 years now, they have volunteered to deliver our collections in NY, NJ, PA, DC, MD, VA, MA, IL, FL, MI, SC, CT, GA, CA... basically wherever and whenever we ask them to help out!!

Over the past decade, 1-800- GOT-JUNK? has helped us transport hundreds of thousands of toys to children in need and kept as many toys out of the landfills as well. There are no words to express our gratitude for their willingness to help and deliver thousands of toys at a time. They are polite, efficient and generous and stand by their mission of promoting reuse vs. waste. Thanks to the generosity of 1-800- GOT-JUNK?, Second Chance Toys is able to scale our efforts and impact many more children. They are indeed responsible for making magic happen for so many children this holiday season.

Thank you 1-800- GOT-JUNK? for all that you do.

​A public collection at one of three Manhattan TD Bank locations

This year, at the annual Winter's Eve celebration in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan, TD Bank kicked off their holiday collection of gently used plastic toys. Three branches on 62nd, 68th and 117th streets participated in the collections and brought in an amazing amount of toys! Then they took their participation to the next level and attended the toy distribution at United Yes We Can/Unidos Si Se Puede holiday party, in East Harlem. TD Bank volunteers helped organize and select age- appropriate toys for each family.

Because of TD Bank's efforts, so many children in need were positively impacted and parents were given the dignity of being able to provide a toy for their child for the holidays. We are so grateful for the participation of TD bank. They are community minded in every sense of the word.

Year after year, we are so grateful for the efforts of the controllers group at Viacom. Not only do they support our program on Viacommunity Day, but they consistently volunteer their time and effort to hold an internal collection of gently used plastic toys for the holidays.

The photos display the care and enthusiasm poured into the effort, the incredible number of toys collected, their careful preparation of the toys and their team effort. As a result of the collection, 120 toys went to deserving children at Urban Resource Institute in Manhattan.

We are so grateful to Viacom NY controllers for setting aside time each holiday to help children in need.

As a result of the amazing collections conducted by hundreds of volunteers throughout the country, Second Chance Toys was able to coordinate donations of 25,000 toys in 2017. And the volunteer efforts of our partners, 1-800- GOT-JUNK?, make it possible to transport very large collections to multiple organizations. We are so happy to have kept thousands of plastic toys out of landfills that are now helping to inspire children to create, imagine, play and learn.

Thanks to everyone involved with Second Chance Toys for your time, efforts, and enthusiasm for our mission. You have made a real difference.

With gratitude,

The Second Chance Toys Team

The student body of McGinn Elementary in Scotch Plains responded overwhelmingly to the call for gently used plastic toys. Thanks to Kelly Sachetti, the PTA moms and the help of fourth graders, they were able to collect, inspect, clean and bag 830 toys within an hour of school bell.

They certainly helped make magic this holiday season for so many children served by Union County Council for Young Children. And as a bonus, the children at McGinn experienced firsthand the importance of giving and the special feeling of helping others less fortunate. Now that's what the holidays are all about!

Thank you McGinn for your continued support of Second Chance Toys!

The fourth grade class of Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County coordinated a toy drive to benefit Second Chance Toys, with help from their teachers, Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Markowitz and the school administration. Students in the class informed other students in the school of the fundraiser by creating posters to spread the word. Children in the school generously donated both new and gently used toys. The whole school community got involved including students, teachers and other staff.

Due to the competitive nature of this particular fourth grade class, their teachers split the class into two teams. The in-class competition encouraged everyone to participate in donating toys.

Once the competition was finished, they had collected 300 toys, which were donated to Community Refuge Education Center. The class shared all of the details of the collection in a school-wide Thanks & Giving assembly in which the students relayed all the things they were thankful for and that there were children who were not as fortunate as they. They explained how they reached out to family, friends and community to help children that might not receive toys for the holidays. By doing the skit, they taught the entire school how important it is to give back.

Bottom line: The students were very excited to help others and are determined to do more drives to help the less fortunate.  

The holiday toy collection at Evergreen School in Scotch Plains is proof that when a community comes together, great things happen. The collection was promoted well in advance. The Kids Care Committee posted e-blasts for weeks, the PTA president sent out reminders about making sure the toys were clean, that loose pieces were put together in bags and attached to the toys, and that toys were in the same condition that parents would want to give to their own children. Not only did the community respond with everything bagged so neatly, but a record number of toys were donated! In only one hour, the fourth graders inspected, wiped down and bagged up the collection of 950 toys.

Then, like clockwork, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? pulled in front of the school to load up the toys and cart them to Newark, where they were donated to Vince Lombardi Centers for Hope. We could never move as many toys as we do and impact the thousands of children we do without the volunteer services of 1-800- GOT-JUNK? their trucks, time and manpower. Special thanks to Evergreen Principal, Colleen Haubert, for supporting the collection twice yearly at the school, and to the Kids Care parents, Lindsay DeMasi and Kathleen Migliaccio, for their consistent dedication and hard work year after year!!​ Thank you all.