Play. Learn. Grow.

Free toy lending for children from birth to age five

News & Resources

The Toy Lending Library of South Dakota will be at Keloland Living TODAY 4/4/18 at 2pm:
Check it out:

First Gently Used Toy Collection – First Friday, February 3rd

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First Gently Used Toy Collection – First Friday, February 3rd




Do you have toys that your kids don’t use anymore?

Would you like to start your spring cleaning early?


The TOY LENDING LIBRARY – with the mission to create an opportunity for children zero to five years old to enhance their learning development through play– is having its 1st GENTLY USED TOY COLLECTION, at 8th & Railroad Center. We will have it on First Friday, February 3rd, 2017.

Would you like to help? We will have a box at the West Side entrance where you can drop off gently used toys you would like to donate. Also, please let us know if you, your business, your church, service club or even your friends would like to participate by creating a collection group. We will give all the information necessary for the collection, get you a box  and make arrangements to pick it up on a date that works best for you/your organization/business.

Would you like to know even more about how to help? Would you like to volunteer with us? Please contact us at (605) 215-0575 or send us an email:

Thanks for your consideration!

Anelis Coscioni

Toy Lending Library Advisory Board


The Toy Lending Library is a project of the Soroptimist International of Sioux Falls club ( We are located at 8th and Railroad Center, (401 E 8th St #207, Sioux Falls, SD 57103) that Health Connect charitably shares with us. It’s FREE to borrow boxes of toys that are separated into age groups by color coding. You take the boxes home, play, bring them back and get more boxes. Once the toys are returned, they are sanitized before they go back into use again. Through collaboration with the Siouxland Libraries in Sioux Falls and Brandon, we now have toys available for check out at these library locations.

Two New Locations!

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Two New Locations!

The Toy Lending Library is happy to announce that we are now located at two more libraries! Thank you to Siouxland Libraries for two amazing new partnerships. Come check out our toys!


Callie Library

 4100 S Carnegie Cir, Sioux Falls, SD 57106

Brandon Library

305 S Splitrock Blvd, Brandon, SD 57005

KDLT: Toy Lending Library Looking for New Home

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KDLT: Toy Lending Library Looking for New Home

Toy Lending Library Looking for New Home
POSTED: 07:00 PM CDT Apr 16, 2016 by KDLT

Thank you to Ricky Cody and KDLT for visiting us at the Toy Lending Library and spreading our mission!

You can watch KDLT’s coverage here.

Anelis Cristina Coscioni on The Big Dream

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Anelis Cristina Coscioni on The Big Dream

PechaKucha | Anelis Cristina Coscioni

Anelis Cristina Coscioni was born and raised in Brazil where she graduated from a veterinary school. After finishing her Doctorate, she married Jorge Luna, moved to California, Idaho, Mexico and finally to Sioux Falls. Anelis was actually “made” here. When she arrived in Sioux Falls, she couldn’t work because of her Visa restrictions. She started volunteering and discovered a new, fantastic world in Non Profit. With the support of her husband and the help of a good friend, Charlie Day, she discovered that she could use her gifts doing what makes her really happy - helping others. While being a stay at home mom to the almost 4 years old Anita, Anelis, together with her Soroptimist club, started a free Toy Lending Library and, that, was when she started thinking big

NEWS RELEASE: Soroptimist International of Sioux Falls

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NEWS RELEASE: Soroptimist International of Sioux Falls



Toy Lending Library Expanding to more two Siouxland Libraries: February 2016.
Contact: Anelis Coscioni,, (605)215-0575 Soroptimist International of Sioux Falls
Karen Wiechmann,, (605)367-8720 Siouxland Libraries, Downtown Library

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Soroptimist International of Sioux Falls in collaboration with Kilian Community College and Siouxland Libraries, Downtown Library opened the doors of the Toy Lending Library (300 East 6th Street, Sioux Falls, SD) June 18th, 2015. Three months before we started a pilot project with the Downtown Library where toy boxes were loaned to the public who visit the library. It started with 24 toy boxes and today the collection has 44 boxes. We are very excited to share that this February two more Siouxland Libraries- Oak View (3700 E 3rd St, Sioux Falls, SD 57103) and Ronning (3100 E 49th St, Sioux Falls, SD 57103) will have toy boxes to be loaned to the public. Toys boxes are color coded and separated by age group: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 7- 12 months, 12- 24 months, 24-36 months and 3-5 years old. Families just need their library card to borrow the boxes from the Siouxland Libraries. The process is the same as borrowing a book. You borrow the toy box, play for three weeks, bring it back and get another box. When it comes back we sanitize the toys and return it to the shelves. As Kilian Community College is closing we are looking for a new venue for the Toy Lending Library in the Downtown area. Also we are looking for “Two Friends for Two Hours” who would like to help us sanitize the toys once a week in the three locations (Kilian Community College, Oak View Library and Ronning Library). Our hours at the Kilian location (300 East 6th Street, Sioux Falls, SD) are Monday’s from 10 to 1pm, Wednesday’s from 11 to 1pm, Thursday’s from 4 to 6pm and Friday’s from 9:30 to 11:15am. The community also can come by appointment. Assistance in Spanish is available by appointment also. More information can be obtained on our web site:, by email ( or by phone (605)215-0575.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Soroptimist offers programs that improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Its major program, the Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women (formerly Women’s Opportunity Awards), provides cash grants for women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. Each year, about $1.5 million is disbursed to deserving women through this award-winning program. Soroptimist is a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs. For more information, visit

Soroptimist club establishing toy lending libraries

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Soroptimist club establishing toy lending libraries

Originally posted 6:15 p.m. CDT March 9, 2015, Jill Callison,

(Photo: Emily Spartz Weerheim / Argus Leader)

Soon, probably next month, when Adriana Alvarez and Cornell McBride leave Kilian Community College, they will carry not only books and computers but toys, too.

A program offered through Soroptimist International of Sioux Falls Club will give students who are parents of young children access to a toy lending library. That means McBride, when he travels out of state on a weekend to see his 5-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son can bring along a toy for the weekend, then bring something different back the next visit.

It also means Alvarez can find out what toys her 2-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son enjoy playing with. Through the toy lending library, she can offer something new to stimulate their imaginations and hone their developmental skills.

“It’s a good way to save money,” the Sioux Falls woman said. “Many kids play with the toys you buy them, then forget about them. This way they don’t get tired of playing with the same toys.”

The toy lending library at Kilian will be the second one established by the local Soroptimist club, which works to improve the lives of women and girls, said member Anelis Coscioni. The first one opened several weeks ago at the main branch of Siouxland Libraries. It provides toys for children from birth through age 5.

“By helping kids, you’re helping the moms,” Coscioni said. “You’re helping the kids to learn and grow.”

Soroptimist members chose the downtown library and Kilian sites as a way to offer toys in an under-served area of Sioux Falls. Both services are free and open to the public. To check out toys from the library, a valid library card is needed. At Kilian, when the program is opened, students must provide a picture ID and a phone number.

The toys are kept in plastic storage boxes with several toys in each one. They are sterilized each time they are returned. The 17-member Soroptimist Club conducted toy drives around Christmas to start the collection.

“Parents wish for their children to have toys, but if they don’t have food, if they don’t have a house, how can the parents even think about toys?” Coscioni said.

The library collection started with 23 boxes, and they already have begun circulating, said librarian Karen Weichmann. Providing space for the toy lending library fits into the mission of the regular library, she said. That includes a renewed emphasis on the importance of playing with children.

“The lending library just really fits into that well, too,” Wiechmann said. “Play is so important for early childhood development, and in important goal in the library is to nurture child development and bonding with parents.”

It also fits well at Kilian, said its president Mark Millage. The community college’s enrollment of several hundred include many single parents.

“This is an opportunity for them to involve their children as part of their experience at Kilian,” he said. “We offer more of a family approach to education.”

The Soroptimist Club is pursuing a grant that would allow it to purchase books, Coscioni said. Whenever possible, the book would relate to the toy inside the box, such as a book about number along with toys that help with counting.

Through her work on the project, Coscioni, herself the mother of a young daughter, has realized once again how important play is to a child and how it can strengthen the bond between parent and child.

“These connections get strength by doing things together,” Coscioni said. “When you’re playing with toys with your hands, they create a memory that stays.”

Architecture firm collecting for toy-lending library

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Architecture firm collecting for toy-lending library

Originally posted 11:10 a.m. CST December 15, 2014, Sioux Falls Business Journal


Architecture Incorporated is collecting toys and donations to support a toy-lending library.

The firm at 415 S. Main Ave. will support a free program established by a local chapter of the Soroptimist Club, a national organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls.

The toy-lending library hopes to open in January at Kilian Community College through a partnership with the Siouxland Libraries’ main branch. The toys are for children up to age 5.

She Magazine: Sioux Falls women work together to start a toy lending library

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She Magazine: Sioux Falls women work together to start a toy lending library

Originally posted 10:44 a.m. CST February 28, 2014, Tabby Soignier,

(Photo: Emily Spartz / Argus Leader, Emily Spartz / Argus Leader)

Anelis Coscioni had an idea.

Not a big idea. In fact, it was small enough to fit into a toddler’s hands.

She wondered if it would be possible to create an easily accessible place where parents who can’t afford educational toys could come to check out a box of age-appropriate playthings to both engage and teach their children.

With plenty of research, and community groups behind them, an organization of Sioux Falls women is working to try to establish a toy lending library downtown that would be within easy walking distance for anyone using public transit.

“When you see a need, you find a way to meet that need,” says Coscioni, president of the Soroptimist Club of Sioux Falls. “We have big dreams, but you build on that and make it happen.”

Local members of the Soroptimist Club, a national organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls, are working to form a 501 c3 nonprofit organization that will put toys in the hands of those who need it most. The Sioux Falls group of women is small, with fewer than 20 members, but has been active in the city since 1940.

So far, there is space set aside for their library and the support of educators and those who work with families in need. Their next step is to find volunteers who will help them put their ideas into action and to come up with ways to purchase toys.

It’s a lofty project, but one that they hope the Sioux Falls community will reach out to use and support, says Lisa VandeVoort, a longtime club member who is working on the task force for the toy library.

“It’s exciting to be part of something that could benefit so many people,” VandeVoort says. “We’re looking for a way to really improve the lives of others.”

The idea of the Sioux Falls toy library came to Coscioni as she watched her own toddler daughter play. It seemed like the little girl was constantly “outgrowing” the toys that would stimulate her brain or teach her new skills.

Contacting people involved with the Sioux Falls School District, the full-time volunteer learned that educators who work with low-income families often noted that many children just didn’t have good, age appropriate toys. Many of those families live in the central part of the city and have limited access to transportation.

“It seemed like a simple idea, but then you dig a little and it’s not quite so simple,” says Coscioni, with a smile. “We kept working on it. We’re stubborn.”

Coscioni contacted CHILD Services at Sanford Health, which agreed to offer assistance to get the toy library set up and functional. Officials at Killian Community College have offered a room that can be used. The group hopes to make available for checkout about 200 toys in marked, clear boxes on the shelves.

And the Main Branch of the Siouxland Libraries has also agreed to take part in the project, too, checking out about 20 kits of toys each month to library patrons. Those downtown library patrons will be able to check out toys using their regular library cards.

Karen Wiechmann, youth services librarian at Siouxland Libraries, says the project fits in well with the library’s mission to serve young kids. Their early literacy focus is called, “Read and Play,” she says.

When parents play with young children with educational toys, it helps children learn fine-motor skills and literacy skills, she says. It’s part of helping them become future readers.

“We were really pleased when they approached us. We really welcome ideas like this,” says Wiechmann. “We really like to partner with the community.”

Coscioni said the group has researched ways to track and check out the toys. They hope to find volunteers to help run the library and do everything that needs to be done: organizing the library, cleaning toys, assisting families in selecting the right toys for their children and supervising checkouts and returns.

Carol Shuckart, one of the women helping start the project, says the group is grateful to have a way to help young children learn. And they hope to find more people who can help them form a board to oversee the toy library and to apply for grants and raise funds needed to keep the library active.

“Everyone we talk to has been positive about the project,” says the retired interior designer and club member. “We want to partner with other people, other groups. When we work together, there’s so much more we all can do.”

Why should play be a part of every child’s life?

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Why should play be a part of every child’s life?

Play is a universal phenomenon and a right of childhood. It is a spontaneous, rewarding and fun with several benefits:

Education: helps children learn and build skills that lay the foundation for learning to read, write and do math.
Social skills: provides opportunities to socialize with peers of the same age, and to learn to understand others, to communicate and to negotiate.
Cognition: encourages children to learn, imagine, categorize and problem solve.
Therapeutic benefits: Gives children the opportunity to express troubling aspects of their daily life, including stresses, trauma, family conflicts and other dilemmas.
Our children live in a time of busy schedules and high expectations for achievement; we should take care to give them the time and space to discover the joy and benefits of free play.



The Importance of Play

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The Importance of Play

There are some behaviors that nearly all children have in common—activities that come to them as naturally as breathing and eating. Anyone who knows the world of children will agree that play is one of those behaviors.

There are compelling developmental reasons for a child’s instinct to play. Play is the way a child explores his world, builds skills, exercises his imagination and learns through experience.

Jerome Singer, Ph.D., Professor of Child Studies Emeritus at Yale University and a leading play researcher notes that learning through play is intrinsically motivating for children. “Play can miniaturize a part of the complex world children experience, reduce it to understandable dimensions, manipulate it, and help them understand how it works.”[1]

Consider what is happening when a child plays with blocks:

Physical development. She is learning how to control small muscles and how to coordinate eyes and hands to stack and balance the blocks.
Cognitive development. She is developing mathematical concepts by sorting the blocks by size and shape and figuring out what number of blocks are needed to fill a space. She is experimenting with the fundamental principles of physics, learning to predict cause-and-effect by discovering how high the blocks can be stacked before they fall.
Development of imagination, creativity, and problem solving skills. Her block structure may be a house, a car, a village, a doll’s bed, or anything she wants it to be. It can be the main event in her play, or a backdrop. Whatever she decides, she is using her imagination and figures out how to make it—and how to fix it when “construction” doesn’t go as planned.
Social and emotional development. She is learning how to stay on task, exercise self-control, “work” independently, manage frustration, and be resilient if her building project topples over. Her self-directed activity will help her enjoy learning and experience success—all of which build confidence, satisfaction, and the motivation to learn.
Many years of research by a number of scholars has documented that healthy childhood play plays an important role in these skills:

Development of motor skills
Sharpening of the senses
Development of empathy and the ability to express emotions
Understanding and practice of sharing, turn taking, and other peer cooperation skills
Increasing control of compulsive actions and learning to accept delayed gratification
Building ordering and sequencing skills
Increasing the size of the vocabulary and the ability to comprehend language
Increasing concentration skills
Learning to navigate assigned roles
Development of capacity to be flexible
Expansion of imagination, creativity, and curiosity
Reducing aggression
This array of life skills derived from healthy play draws a clear connection between play and the fundamental competencies that lead to success as adults in our culture—namely literacy, mathematical reasoning, creative thinking, and the ability to get along with others. It’s also natural, fun, child-affirming, and family-strengthening.

To add to the good news, wholesome play doesn’t necessarily require a lot of planning or equipment. “The activities that are the easiest, cheapest, and most fun to do, such as singing, playing games, reading, storytelling, and just talking and listening,” notes Jerome Singer, “are also the best for child development.”[2]

[1] Singer, Jerome L. and Singer, Dorothy. (June 1, 2000) Make Believe Play Boosts Learning and School-Readiness in Preschoolers, Yale Study Finds. Office of Public Affairs at Yale.

[2] Singer, Jerome L. and Singer, Dorothy. (June 1, 2000) Make Believe Play Boosts Learning and School-Readiness in Preschoolers, Yale Study Finds. Office of Public Affairs at Yale.

Provided By Susan J. Oliver, Tropomedia
This information is provided on behalf of the toy experts at your neighborhood toy store.