My kids love to play with toys. They especially love to play with toys when we are somewhere other than our home. The “grass is always greener” when it comes to toys, which can lead to a lot of frustration…and wasted money. Well, Julia at The Play Library has solved this problem for us, as she has created one of the most unique and innovative places I have ever visited.
Currently located in the heart of OTR, right across from Findlay Market, The Play Library is exactly what it sounds like – a library of toys. From the moment you walk in, you know you’re going to have fun, whether you’re a kid rushing toward the toys, or an adult visiting for game night and a cold drink. The main concept is simple – you can bring your children in to play with the toys for free (there is a $5 suggested donation to play, if you’re able) and then you can sign up for a membership to check out up to four items, depending on which level of membership you purchase. She outlines it on the website here, and when you think about it, it really saves a lot of money!
The toys are mainly meant for ages 3 and up, but my two year old was able to find plenty to enjoy. There is such a variety – from classics like blocks to popular princess dress up clothing – every child will find something they like. The space itself is like playing in a toy box. The walls and even the chairs are whimsical and you can tell Julia and The Play Library have a great sense of humor. In short, it’s a cool place to hang out. Which is probably why she even has events for adults (21 and over) to come play games and enjoy a cold beer. Definitely check out the events page here for both family and adult activities.
The Play Library is currently located in the People’s Liberty Building, thanks to a grant program they have for artists and start-ups. I personally hope The Play Library is able to continue to thrive in OTR, as it is the perfect location to welcome everyone in to play and try out new toys. They are always accepting donations of gently used toys, and they also use membership fees to purchase the newest and latest items. You can also help by volunteering or sponsoring a membership for a family in need.
Go check out their current location (through August 27), chat with Julia about why and how she started this innovative library, and stay tuned for her next location. Your kids will love trying out (and checking out) a few new toys, and you’ll love that when the novelty wears off, all you have to do is head back to The Play Library again!
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati publications and sites. With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.