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America Recycles, and So Should You!

This Sunday, November 15, is America Recycles Day from Keep America Beautiful. An annual event since 1997, the day aims to educate Americans on what can be recycled, and encourage them to do so. It is the only nationally-recognized day for promoting and encouraging recycling. So, let's recycle. It's what we're all about!

Plastic toys are easy to recycle with Second Chance Toys. They don't have to undergo any process or become something new, just donate perfectly good plastic toys through Second Chance Toys, and a child in need will be able to use that toy right away! Here's a link to our growing list of places to donate this holiday season.

SCT volunteer, Lauren Slinger, took some time to write down ideas to help get the ball rolling on donating unused toys with your children. Take a look and set aside some time this Sunday to recycle those toys!

Decluttering the Toy Shelf with your Child’s Consent 

You walk into your child’s bedroom and grimace? If you’re lucky, you haven’t tripped over anything or bruised your foot after stepping on that action figure toy. It’s a mess and new toys only make the mess worse. So what do you do? 

Time to consider donating the old to make room for the new!  

Just by donating a gently used plastic toy, you can make a world of difference in the life of a disadvantaged child and at the same time help keep non-biodegradable plastics out of our landfills. However, the question remains, how can you get your child to accept giving up his/her toys? 

When it comes to donating their own things, it's common for kids, especially younger ones, to put up a fuss. Children often grow attached to their possessions, so it's natural for them resist parting with them. But even preschoolers are old enough to learn about generosity, compassion, and the importance of helping others. Donating their old toys is a great way to begin that lesson. 

After introducing the idea, get your kids involved in the process as much as possible. Here are some tips: 

1. Get Your Kids Involved

One mistake parents often make is gathering up toys for donation when the kids aren’t home as a sneaky way to get rid of the clutter. This can be problematic since your kids might be upset when they find out by surprise that their possessions are gone. Most importantly, you missed the opportunity to teach your kids about charity and the joy of helping others.

There are several ways to get your kids on board:

Ask for Help. Let your kids know that you plan to donate some toys to a charitable cause. Try explaining where the toys go and who receives them. Let kids decide which toys stay and which ones go. When they can't yet seem to part with a favored item, try to encourage them to look for other toy options to give instead.

Set a target. Make it fun by turning it into a game. For example, for every two toys they keep, see if they can give up one or work with neighborhood parents to turn it into a local drive where kids can compete and help clean and pack to give to charity.

2. Donate Toys that Work

Explain to your children that broken toys or toys with missing parts should not be donated. Ask them how would they feel receiving such a toy? And if a toy’s battery no longer functions, have your child help you replace the battery to give it new life before donating. 

3. Take Pride in your Donation

Spruce up your gently loved toys before donating. Make cleaning the toys a family activity. This is a chance to do something together and work towards the same goal. You can divvy up the tasks  and ask your children to decide what part of the process they want to lead.  

4. Consider the Beneficiaries

This is a great opportunity to sensitize your kids to the fact that so many children go without toys. Ask them if they would like to go with you to deliver the toys and see how happy they are going to make others feel. These are the teachable moments that can potentially stay with them for life.

You can use Second Chance Toys to find out where to donate. If you have just a few toys, find out where they list  Drop-off Locations near you (in April for Earth Week or in December for the holidays). If you cannot find a drop off in your area, consider collecting 50 or more plastic toys and Second Chance Toys will arrange for you to donate your toys directly to a local organization. 

5. Praise your Child

Consider that your child has just parted with a once prized possession. Give him/her the credit they deserve and let them know what a difference they have made in someone else’s life.

Continue to encourage your child to give and volunteer and this will surely help strengthen their moral compass and empathy for others less fortunate.  

-Lauren Slinger works in Content Distribution at Viacom Media Networks