The origin of toy libraries dates back to 1935, according to Cotlands. The first toy library was established 88 years ago in Los Angeles, California.

The toy library model works similarly to book libraries: Members borrow educational toys from the toy library over a short period and then return the toys for other members to use.

There are numerous benefits to toy libraries. Members can become part of a shared economy that yields significant cost savings for parents who would otherwise have had to buy new toys for their children. There is also less environmental impact in communities through this model, as toys are reused and fewer toys end up in landfills.

Cotlands says that, in this past Human Rights month, it advocated protecting the rights of our youngest children as they are our most important resource. The foremost reason for protecting young children at this early stage is that in the first five years of life, there is a short window of opportunity for optimal brain development (90% child's brain develops during this period).

According to the brand, if we protect and develop vulnerable children at this most opportune period, they stand to gain a stronger educational foundation that prepares them to thrive in their later educational years.

Cotlands CEO Dr Monica Stach says, "We've amplified our advocacy efforts and invite the public to support our cause at our main advocacy event celebration, titled 'Play the Hero!', on World Play Day."

"We would like to encourage adults and children to dress up in their favourite superhero outfits to help us raise awareness for educational toy libraries. We want to spread the message and ask the public to help us raise funds," Stach adds.

"Please donate R50 for each superhero character in the family. We strongly believe it is the right of every little human in South Africa to access play-based early learning opportunities, and it’s our mission to increase these opportunities for vulnerable children," Stach concludes.

To help the advocacy efforts, individuals can sign the online advocacy petition here.

By signing this petition, it will help Cotlands with lobbying to get decision-makers in the public sector to help them fund, adapt and enhance children's book libraries and fill them with books and stock them with educational toys for younger children's holistic development.

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