When I first read about Toygaroo — the “Netfilx of toys” — I was really hoping it was a rental library of like, German tile games. It’s not, which is unfortunate for me, BUT if you’re a Brooklynite with kids, Toygaroo may be just the ticket to a fat wallet and a happy child. Maybe? Certainly, it has the potential to be super space-saving. The premise is Netflix-simple: you subscribe to a plan (4 toys, 6 toys or 8 toys, to be delivered in bundles either every month or every other month). When your kids get bored with their haul, you FedEx ’em back using the pre-paid label, and the elves at Toygaroo send off the next batch in your queue.
A huge portion of the website is dedicated to assuring you that the toys have “No Yuck Factor,” which is Toygaroo-ese for “these toys have been cleaned really, really thoroughly between uses via steam, bleach, manual inspection and shrink-wrap”. As the site points out, that’s probably at least as clean or cleaner than the toys you buy new, which makes me feel worse about store-bought toys (kids! ew!) rather than better about Toygaroo toys.
The prices range from $25 for four toys every other month to $53 for eight toys a month, assuming it won’t traumatize your kids to give their loot back (but they get more! Also, this is maybe an important life lesson? And if your kid really falls in love, you can buy the toy in question directly from Toygaroo at a “discounted price”).
The only caveat is that, at least for the moment, the toy selection seems pretty limited, especially for school-aged kids — heavy on the Mr. Potato Heads and aggressively educational digitized “games” (will it be the “Learning Laptop” this month, or the “Phonetic Pals”?) and light on … well, things 6-year-old me would want to play with. The options for younger kids seem more promising, but again, it’s not particularly inspired: a plastic dump truck, a doctors-office-style “Classic Bead Maze,” rainbow blocks. Still, there’s enough appealing stuff to keep kids entertained, at least for a few months.
So parents, we ask: will Santa be bringing Toygaroo subscriptions down the chimney (up the fire escape?) this Christmas?