• Small Sustainable Swaps

Review of The Little Play Village - Toy hire service

Toys! Children often seem to enjoy toys at other people’s houses much more fun and interesting than their own. They seem new and interesting, much like when they get a new toy of their own – a novelty. For our family regularly buying new toys is not a sustainable way to live and we would rapidly run out of space without getting rid of other toys.


My daughters aged 6 and almost 4, love engaging in role play. They have enjoyed many visits to a local role play centre where they get to play with new toys and take on different role play situations. Role play is an essential part of children’s development helping them develop many important skills (language, social, problem solving, emotional etc.) During the pandemic, this role play centre has been closed and the girls have missed their visits.


Recently, a friend has started a wonderful new business (in the Worthing area) that helps to solve both problems. ‘The Little Play Village’ offers Hire at home boxes which contain toys based around a theme. These boxes are continually being developed and improved. Currently there are 8 boxes available to hire either Monday-Friday or Friday – Monday, at different prices with a returnable deposit. Between hires all the items in the box go through a thorough 4-step cleaning process, giving you peace of mind that they are safe for your family to use. They also offer a loyalty scheme, giving a free hire after a certain number of hires. The boxes are can be delivered free of charge within postcodes: BN11, BN12, BN13, BN14, BN15, BN16 & BN17 and there is a £2 delivery charge for post codes: BN5, BN18, BN41, BN42, BN43 & BN44. You can find out more about the boxes and services through their Facebook and Instagram pages and on their website (see link above).

Our first hire was the Self Care Salon. We had the box from Friday morning until Monday morning. This box contained a till, appointment card and whiteboard pen, mirrors, make up bake and make up items, equipment belt and hair dressing tools, rollers, and hair clips. My girls loved this set, they spent time doing each other’s hair and make-up as well as their toys. They took turns and listened to their customer’s requests.

During our most recent hire, we actually hired two sets at once. From Monday morning to Friday morning we had the Sweet Treats Tea Room and the Ice Cream Counter. As part of our hire we also received two collapsible tables, these were perfect for setting up the toys in our lounge. These two sets were requested by my daughters, each wanting a different one. During our hire time we arranged to have some friends come over and share in the fun.

They had lots of fun creating different ice creams and sandwiches and eating the different cakes. They had to work on taking and listening to orders as well as learning some customer services skills. They began recording orders on some paper and a clip board that we had. It did make us laugh when they both wanted to be serving meaning there was not a customer. The solution to this problem was to involve their toys and have them be the customers! Having friends visit was also a solution to this problem. Our 6-year-old loved organising all the items and setting up, especially the Ice Cream Counter. She loved the fact that it had a window like a proper ice cream counter. Our youngest enjoyed the coffee maker as she loves being like mummy and drinking coffee!

Laura, the Founder of The Little Play Village, is a teacher which means all the boxes are carefully thought about in terms of the learning and development opportunities they offer. Playing in one of the best ways for children to learn and the great thing is they do not even realise they are learning. These boxes can be hired for playing at home, to help prepare your child for a new experience, for use at a birthday party or other special occasion and many other reasons I'm sure. I know that Laura has many exciting things planned for the future of The Little Play Village.

This business offers the opportunities for families to access new toys without having to buy new and they keep their novelty for the time that you have it. I love that many of the toys that The Little Play Village have included in their boxes are wooden meaning they should last a long time. This offers a more sustainable way of providing children with toys. We look forward to our next hire – I wonder which one the girls will choose?


Maybe you have a toy hire company nearby or you could check your local library to see if they offer a toy library. Maybe you could rotate toys around with your friends so that no one gets too bored. In the future I hope to look at other sustainable options for children’s toys.

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