Try http://www.craigslist.com for your neighborhood classifieds. There is also nothing wrong with finding some great, clean and barely-used toys at yard sales. My mother buys my son cars at yard sales, and they're fine. She disinfects them before letting him have them. You can find some very nice items that others are selling, and save tons of cash.
By Lisa B
You can borrow the same toy back again later, which is nice too. Moms volunteer their time to come in to wash toys and keep the center open certain times of the week. A great way of not having to spend the money on toys, yet be able to provide their kids with quality educational toys and games.
Thrift stores and garage sales can be a good place to get bargains and missing pieces of sets but there is something special about that brand new toy. I really try to get games and collections because I feel like they have more longevity for the kids.
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I bought a packet of wooden clothes pins from the craft store. Some were used for dolls where the face were drawn on using a Sharpie, the arms are pipe cleaners and the dress was a scrap of cloth tied at the "waist" with scraps/ribbons or yarn. The home was a shoebox and the decor drawn in or made from old egg cartons. My girls had hours and hours of fun making villages. Old buttons were used as "plates" and the "food" was bits of clay. The girls stuck the dolls in their pockets to play with in the car.
The one rule: imagination only: no pre-fabricated toys.
My girls are now ladies (30 and 28) and both have recently remarked how much fun they had making those villages and later writing a "soap opera" based on what may have transpired in the Casa de Clothes Pins.
I buy toys from outlet stores. I bought a desk that has a lamp, crayon and marker holder, a easel, storage compartment on the sides, a chair and a slide drawer for $1.99. All it was missing was the drawer handle. I went to several different stores just to see what kind of bargin I got. The cheapest place I found that sold that exact same desk was for $35.00. I buy alot of the toys from the outlet stores and alot of the time there is nothing wrong or missing with the product.
We have 2 wonderful grandsons who are 5 years apart in age and we buy durable good quality toys , especially for the oldest one. When he outgrows his interest in them they are carefully packed away in the attic, after a good cleaning, to rest there until our youngest is old enough to play with them.
They sometimes require a bit of touch up painting but are always a big hit and can enjoy a second go around with another little boy. Because our boys have been taught how to play correctly with their toys and not abuse them they can often be sold, or donated to a worthy cause ,after the youngest is done with them. Don't get me wrong our little guy gets some new toys also , but really enjoys the toys that come from ," the uptairs tore". The other treat is that we get to see both of our boys enjoying these toys without having to find the money in the budget to buy twice as many toys. Like all grandparents, we love to spoil our grandchildren with lots of love.
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