10 Places to Donate Your Children's Gently Used Toys

toys in and around a donation box

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Donating your child's used toys gives them new life while helping other children and decluttering your home at the same time. There are some worthy locations just waiting for you to donate these items in good shape to children who will love playing with them. Start with these 10 places to donate your children's gently-used playthings.

where to donate toys
Illustration: Joshua Seong. © The Spruce, 2018 

1. Charities

Salvation Army and Goodwill are the most recognizable charities where toys are donated. Call your local donation center before you go to confirm if it is accepting toy donations.

The organization may give the toy directly to a less fortunate child or sell the item in the organization's thrift store. Either way, the toys will be helping people in your community. As an extra incentive, donate toys to a qualifying charity or nonprofit to deduct the items on your taxes.

2. Hospitals

Many medical facilities accept gently used toys for their young patients to play with while they are hospitalized. There are hospitals with toy wish lists posted on their website so you can see their exact toy needs.

Always check with a hospital before you show up with a box of toys, though. Some will not take any items that are not new because of the risk of spreading illness.

3. Doctors' Offices

Visit a children's doctor's office, and you are bound to find toys parents have donated. Larger toys can entertain children in the waiting room. Smaller toys can be used in the doctor's prize bin as rewards for making it through a checkup.

If you are donating books, help your child write a get well message inside the front cover, and they might even want to sign their name. This a nice way to teach your child compassion and generosity at the same time.

4. Daycare Centers

It is rare to find a daycare that is not in need of more toys. With so many children to entertain, daycare centers run through toys pretty fast. Browse through a local directory to find a daycare center near you.

5. Shelters

Many shelters will gladly take gently-used toys. Shelters for abused women and the homeless are often overlooked as toy donation sites, but children end up at these locations too.

6. Children's Homes

Children's homes are another place where you can donate used toys for other kids in need. Groups of kids live together in children's homes, so toys are always in demand. The number of children's homes has gone down over the years, but check your local directory to see if there is one near you. The children's home director can tell you if they need toy donations and where to send them.

7. Military Families

With military men and women constantly on the move, some toys may not make the trip to the family's new home. Your child's toys are a nice welcoming gesture for a military family new to your city. Contact the military family support group at your local base to find a home for your children's toys or contact Operation Homefront to search for current needs.

8. Churches

From newborns to school-age kids, local churches provide childcare services to a variety of children during church-related events and Sunday services. Contact the children's ministry coordinator to find out if you can drop off toys with them.

9. Social Services

Your local social services division can connect you with a variety of kids who might love to play with your child's toys. This department can get your donated toys to families who are less fortunate or to children in foster care where resources may be limited.

10. Police and Fire Departments

Police officers and firefighters often carry small toys, usually stuffed animals, to comfort scared and injured children on the scene. These departments generally look to the public for donations to provide this service. Call your local police and fire departments to find out if they would like gently-used toys to comfort children during a stressful situation.