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After the previous post on Geneva’s indoor play areas, I would be remiss if I didn’t write about Geneva’s 12 wonderful ludothèques, or toy libraries.  Subsidized by the city of Geneva, they are a brilliant two-fold concept: 1) to serve as a free play area and gathering space for each neighborhood in Geneva; and 2) to loan out toys to Geneva families, just like a more traditional book library!

Here’s how it works:

1) A family pays a nominal fee (30 – 40 Fr.) for a year or half-year membership to an individual ludothèque.

2) After paying this initial fee, each family can check out/borrow a toy (limited to one toy for every family member) and keep it as long as they would like at no additional cost. Toys range from baby items and toddler scooters to skateboards, skis and board games.

3) The initial borrowing period is usually three weeks, but if your child would like to keep the toy(s) for a longer period of time, just call or e-mail the ludo to let them know.

4)  When your child finally tires of their “new” toy, just drop it back by the ludo and pick out another one.

It’s an economical and eco-friendly way to give your child a stream of “new” toys, without having to commit to having each toy around on a permanent basis.

For example, in our small apartment, gigantic plastic scooters, race car tracks, plastic building sites complete with nearly-life-size cranes are toys-non-gratae.  They take up too much room and our little one loses interest quickly.  But for a few weeks?  No problem!  It’s also a nice way to test-drive a new toy before buying one.

Even if you decide against joining your neighborhood ludo, you can always go there with your child to play and interact with others.  There is no cost to simply come and play, and some ludos even provide a snack area and coffee/tea for purchase.  And each summer from mid-May to the end of September, keep an eye out for the Ludobus that stops at Geneva’s parks.  The bus is stocked with a load of toys for the kids to enjoy.

For more information, and to find the ludothèque closest to you, visit http://www.ville-geneve.ch or click here or here.  Or look for this booklet around Geneva’s family-friendly businesses.*

*Photos courtesy of the Ville de Geneve website and the Geneva Lunch website.

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.