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Check out the toys (literally) at the Smiley Branch’s Toy Library

Check out the toys (literally) at the Smiley Branch’s Toy Library

I’ll confess. My kids used to bring home toys without paying for them.

Perhaps I should explain.

There is a hidden gem in the northwest corner of Denver proper. In the lower level (OK, basement) of the Smiley branch of the Denver Public Library system at certain times of the week, your kids can enjoy….Other People’s Toys!

Isn’t it true for a child that a toy that belongs to someone else is a better toy? When my kids were younger, we took them to the Toy Library to play with shelves and shelves of donated toys. And other kids. While we talked with other parents, made new friends, and relived parts of our childhood.

There are costumes. There are puzzles and games. There are strollers and babies and trucks and telescopes and whales and Elmos and Lincoln Logs and toys that take me back. I once got to play with a Spirograph.

On Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. September-May, the opening of the Toy Library is preceded by storytelling and singing by upstairs librarian Mr Dana. He and his ukulele get the children up and moving, singing and learning.

But the really cool, secret thing (which is really not such a secret) is this: your child can bring home the toys. With a library card and a promise to bring back the toy in good condition, your child can play with Other People’s Toys for up to three weeks.

The toy library is run by volunteers and it has modest needs. If you live nearby and are able, consider volunteering, just an hour or two a week. And of course, you can bring your child(ren) with you to “work.” Also, the next time you are going to ditch some outgrown toys, consider donating them to the Toy Library.

Smiley Library
4501 W 46th Ave (46th and Tennyson)
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 477-3622

The toy library hours are Monday 6-7 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m.-noon and Saturday 10 a.m.-noon. Call to confirm, however, especially if you are making a long trip because hours are based upon volunteer availability.

Do you know of a hidden kid-friendly gem in your area? Reveal!

Lori Holden
Author: Lori Holden

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  1. I think this idea is brilliant! I’m trying to think of some kid-friendly gems in my area. I’ll be back!

  2. I thought of one! In the basement of Denver’s Union Terminal (Union Station) houses o­ne of Denver’s most exciting, historical attractions – the oldest and o­ne of the largest O Scale (1/4 inch = 1 foot) model railroad layouts in the country.

    The Denver Society of Model Railroaders opens up their VERY cool train exhibit to the public on the last Friday of the month. It’s kind of like a secret society and my children loved it.

  3. Lori, what a great post! I’ll check back to see other ideas, and if I think of anything else, I’ll add my own! 🙂

  4. This is one of the coolest ideas ever.

    It’s not hidden at all, but any Book Babies at any Denver library is absolutely a gem.

  5. I went today. I participated. I fell in love. I will become a regular. GREAT tip!

  6. Isn’t it a cool place, Amber?

    Thanks for the tip about Union Station and Book Babies.

    Mile High Mamas totally rock.

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