Toys for Rent: The Green Sensation 2/20/2008 7:25:55 AM

One thing that seems to get worse as children gets older is toys accumulation. They occupy every available space, filling up closets, bursting out of drawers, clogging up bookshelves, overflowing shelves, and stowed in every available nook and cranny. Fortunately, a creative entrepreneur has come out with a brilliant idea to solve this aggravating problem.

If you can rent movies, video games and even handbags online, why not toys? That's the idea behind Baby Plays, a Web-based company that allows parents to receive four or six toys in the mail every month, assembled and ready for playtime. Subscribers browse among nearly 200 toys for newborns through preschoolers. Customers build a wish list of toys they'd like to rent, and company staff ships them to their door.

Baby Plays' inventory includes popular toys by brands such as VTech, LeapFrog and Playskool as well as more obscure European manufacturers. The company keeps at least seven of each kind of toy in stock so they can fulfill almost every request. Baby Plays mainly stocks sturdy, easy-to-clean toys with few parts or parts that are easily replaced.
Toys are avoided if they have small pieces that a child could break off and choke on. The company also also keeps a close eye on the merchandise, yanking those that are broken or more than "gently worn" and donating them to needy families nominated by customers.

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