Cape Cod Toy Library is Celebrating!

Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc. is celebrating 2 years since starting a Toy Lending program (May 7, 2022) and opening an Outdoor Play Oasis (October 15, 2022) and 5 years since beginning a Community Play Space.

play area resizeCape Cod Toy Library, Inc. (CCTL) was founded to support children’s need for play and to help families support their children’s developmental needs. Cape Cod Toy Library’s mission is to foster healthy child development and learning through play experiences by providing enriching, accessible, culturally inclusive, educational environments, resources, and guidance for all children and families.

Who Can Use the Cape Cod Toy Library

CCTL’s Community Play Space and Toy Library serve families with children 0-8, including children on the autism spectrum or learning and development challenges. CCTL is committed to ensuring all families have equitable access to our educational resources.

CCTL’s Community Play Space and Toy Library is open on Saturday’s 10-1 at the First Lutheran Church, 1663 Main Street (6A), West Barnstable.

Borrowing from the Library

The Toy Library offers the community a curated collection of 1,500+ educational play materials for all areas of child development and a resource library to borrow with a Play Passport cape cod toy librarySubscription. A Play Passport Subscription, or a Sponsored Play Passport Subscription, enables families to borrow a new set of 6 toys each week as their children grow.

Children can try out toys on site, play with other children and choose toys to take home. Parents get to see what their children are interested in, talk with other parents, and ask advice on what play materials are developmentally appropriate for each child from our Toy Librarian, Play Specialist, and early childhood educator volunteers.

Interactive Play Spaces

The Playroom is set up with a play kitchen, dress up clothes, puppet theater, car ramp, baskets of building materials, puzzles and more for family play. An additional play space is set up by our Play Specialist around a different theme each week (e.g., Boat Play, Fish Play) with play materials for pretend, sensory, creative, physical, and social play learning experiences.

play oasis 1The Outdoor Play Oasis, natural playscape, was created as an outreach initiative in collaboration with Hyannis Public Library in the backyard of library at 401 Main Street, Hyannis. The Outdoor Play Oasis is open daily from dawn to dusk for families with children up to age 12.

Outdoor Play Oasis, made from sustainably harvested wood, includes a stage, a play kitchen, whale drums, chime wall, a 200-year-old log tunnel, climbing/balancing logs, and a labyrinth for enriching family exploratory play! Free family programs are offered monthly at the Outdoor Play Oasis by early childhood educators.

Less Screentime ~ More Playtime

There is great concern among educators, psychologists, pediatricians, and economists regarding the effects of increased screen-time and decreased childhood playtime for children. Social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt’s recent NY Times bestseller book The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness (March 2024) says the decline in “play-based childhood” and the “great rewiring of childhood” has adversely effected children’s social and neurological development that has led to anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Numerous studies demonstrate childhood play is a biological necessity for healthy development. A deficit of play in children’s lives means children’s brains are not adequately stimulated for healthy growth. Neuroscience research has shown that children’s success in school and life is correlated with children’s experience in play-based learning environments, where the adults support children’s curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving.

Pediatricians, today, are prescribing play for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics states “Developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain.” “The mutual joy and shared communication…that parents and children can experience during play – regulate the body’s stress response.”

Upcoming Events at the Toy Library & Outdoor Play Oasis

cape cod toy library is celebrating!Saturday, May 25th 10-1 ~ “Dinosaur Play” @ Toy Library
Saturday, June 1st 10-1 ~ “More Dinosaur Play” @ Toy Library!
Saturday June 1st 3:00-4:00 ~“The Camping Trip” Bilingual Eng.-Portg. Story-Playtime!
Wednesday, June 12th 3:30-5:30 ~ “Kitchen Concoctions” @ Outdoor Play Oasis!

Remember admission is always free, but a suggested donation of $5.00 per family for each drop-in visit is appreciated. The Cape Cod Toy Library graciously accepts volunteers and donations to assure the continuance of this great resource within our community. For more information or to apply for financial assistance for a Play Passport Subscription –
email or call 508-648-3227

Guest Author ~ Deb Willsea, MEd, Founder & Director, Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc., and co-founder and 30 year-champion of Rochester Toy Library. She is a passionate advocate for the critical role childhood play experiences have in healthy child development as well as healthy communities.

Cape Cod Toy Library

Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc. is here to support children and families with access to enriching play spaces, screen-free developmental play resources, and professional expertise on child development and play learning.




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