These days, you can get free toys for babies, toddlers and even bigger kids. It’s just a matter of where and when to find them.
As you may have noticed with my baby-related posts, like free diapers, you can actually stretch your budget if you develop a system of obtaining free stuff.
Toys are hardest to find, since “toys” typically fall outside the ‘basic necessities’ like food or clothing. But free toys do exist.
Here Are 5 Ways to Get Free Toys
1. Become a Toy Tester or Toy Reviewer
The most effective way of product development research involves reaching out to your target market. Popular brands like Nike, Reebok, Revlon, MAC, and even newer app companies do these kinds of product testing all the time.
Toy companies also know the importance of product research and use kids as toy testers (and their parents as toy reviewers), so if you’re interested in getting free toys, here’s what you should do:
- Follow your favorite toy brands on social media. Little tikes, LEGO, Barbie, and so on. Follow just a handful, or go crazy and follow them all. It’s totally up to you.
- Find official groups, such as Fisher Price Family Club, and join them. Most of these are free and anyone can register to become a member.
- Join newsletters of your favorite toy brands. Sometimes, toy companies may send announcement of toy testing programs from their newsletter subscribers. Indicate that you want to join toy testing if the opportunity arises.
If you can, be an active follower by commenting on posts, sending inquiries and even leaving feedback of toys your kids already own.
When you are sent an invitation to test a product, the company will ship it over directly to your home, wait for you to review it (you could create a video, complete a survey form, or leave a testimonial). In exchange for this review, the company will let your kid keep the new toys.
Those with a super-active social media (Instagram, YouTube, and so on) or maintain a parenting blog, toy blog, or similar sites, it’s likely that toy brands would just hand the toy testers over.
2. Hunt Free Toys on Freebie Sites
Freebie sites organize items that are being given away by certain companies. These sites can either have a ton of categories (clothes, pets, babies, house, and so on) or focus on only one category.
Note that the toys usually listed on these sites are not full-sized, but sample-sized toys. Even so, these toy sample still works as their full-sized counterparts.
Begin your hunt on Google and search “free toys” and “free toys by mail”. In most cases, you’ll have to fill in a request for toy form and just wait for toys to arrive.
Never giveaway your sensitive personal information (such as social security number, savings account, and so on).
One example of freebie site is Freecycle.org, an organization focused in recycling. Members of the site use this resource to list items they would like to give away for free.
3. Craigslist Free Section and Facebook Marketplace
Craigslist and Facebook are two very different websites, but they do have a specific feature in common: they can filter stuff based on location.
This a good thing, especially if you’re looking for items near you. When looking for free toys, here are your options:
- Visit your local Craigslist.
- Sift through the “free section”, “baby and kids” or “toys and games” categories for items that are being given away for free. Many people just want their old items gone and if a garage sale is not possible, posting Craigslist ads is the next best thing.
- Go to Marketplace and search for “free toys”.
- Filter the results based on location (within 10 miles is probably a good bet)
In both cases, you’ll be communicating with the “seller” where to meet and pick up the toys. To be safe, bring someone with you on the day of the meet-up, or choose a meeting place with many people (such as a mall).
4. Gifts from Non-Profit Organizations
Many organizations collect toy donations and choose recipients based on certain conditions. For some organizations, the recipients would have to fall under poverty line, or a member of a household with the head of the family serving the military.
The Toy Foundation, for example, collects millions of toys from toy companies and distributes them to thousands of children’s charities around the globe.
Matel, the makers of Barbie, also has its own toy donation program.
Your local Life Care Centers, which help struggling moms or moms-to-be, may also have a toy donation program.
5. Toys for Tots and other Christmas Gift-giving Programs
Founded in 1947 by reservist Major Bill Hendricks, Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. The main role of this organization is to distribute toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.
Other organizations that lead toy donation and gift-giving programs include:
- Operation Christmas Child
- Make a Wish Foundation
- United Way Christmas Bureau
- Salvation Army
- Prison Fellowship Organization
- Christmas Spirit Foundation
- and many more.
Know that most of these organizations send free toys only to those who really are in need. For example, kids of parents who have lost a job recently, kids whose parents are trying to succeed in drug rehabilitation, or other specific eligibility requirements set by the organization.
Other Ways You Can Get Free Toys
You can also take a chance at traditional sources, such as garage sales in your neighborhood or your own church. You’ll never know when people want to dispose of old toys, so be always on the lookout.
Have you considered toy swapping? This activity involves exchanging toys from your household to another parent/kid. The toys you receive could look “new” to your kids, even if they’re actually pre-loved toys.
Do you know more sites and resources that give away free toys during Christmas (or even on regular days)?
Please leave me a comment below!