Frequently Asked Questions
How are the toys cleaned?
The wooden toys are thoroughly wiped down with toxin-free soap* and water to remove germs and debris, then air-dried. They are wiped with a damp cloth to remove soap residue, then cleaned with diluted vinegar to further disinfect. After air-drying, they are cleaned with a toxin-free multi-purpose cleaner**, and finally, residue is removed with a damp cloth. Fabric toys are machine-washed*** and dried.
We strongly believe in the advantages of using a toxin-free cleaning process that is safe for your children, wildlife and the environment. We do not use bleach or chemical antibacterial products due to toxicity concerns, and the lack of evidence proving their effectiveness over safer alternatives (1),(2),(3).
Please note for allergy purposes that we apply olive or canola oil to the wooden toys if they become dried out.
"Acetic acid (vinegar) is an effective mycobactericidal disinfectant that should also be active against most other bacteria. These findings are consistent with...studies performed in the early and mid-20th century on the disinfectant capacity of organic acids."(4) "Acetic acid is known for its antimicrobial effect on bacteria in general..." (5)
*by Attitude (non-toxic / made in Canada / CO2 neutral / not tested on animals)
**by Attitude (see above)
**the Laundry Tarts detergent (non-toxic / made in Canada / not tested on animals)
How does the two-way referral program work?
When you subscribe to the Toy Exchange Subscription Program, you will receive a personal Referral Code. When you refer someone to the program, they will enter this code at checkout. Once they have successfully subscribed, you will both receive $10 off of your next toy box. You can refer multiple people, and will receive a $10 discount per referral. Please see our Referral Program Terms for more information.
How do you select the toys included in each box?
Children go through specific developmental phases at predictable times, so it is possible to anticipate what learning and skill-building your child may be ready for. The toys are strategically chosen to help support those needs during the appropriate timeframe. Dr. Stephanie Denison, BA (UBC), PhD (University of California, Berkeley) who studies cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, has reviewed all Toy Exchange collections and developmental content.
Much of our inspiration has come from Montessori educational pedagogy, which is grounded in over 100 years of research worldwide. You will find that our toys are simple in design, allowing the child to understand and focus on the toy's intended purpose. We try to encourage the use of your child's imagination rather than viewing someone else's, so none of our toys feature popular culture references. Our toys are made of natural materials with no electronic parts. We have also considered the look and feel of your home and play space, and have selected toys that are quite beautiful in our eyes.
What does "non-toxic" materials mean?
We search far and wide to find toys, whenever possible, that are made of natural materials and use non-toxic, water-based paints and stains that are safe for your child to mouth and play with*.
*We have been unable to confirm that the materials used in a few of our toys (that are specifically manufactured for use in Montessori and Waldorf classrooms) are completely non-toxic, but we have included them because of the high educational and developmental value. We are committed to continuing to update our boxes as we find new options.
Why are the toy boxes gender-neutral?
We believe in setting aside the gender stereotypes so prevalent in our society. Gender-specific roles and attributes are (often unintentionally) pushed on our children from birth. Our toys are selected to provide equal immersion in all play, regardless of gender. Additionally, we believe all colours are beautiful and you may receive a pink or blue toy regardless of your child’s gender.
What if I break or damage a toy?
These things happen! We do expect that you take care of the toys as if they were your own, and follow the care and cleaning instructions included in your box. Normal wear of toys, including small scratches or dents, are fine. You should feel comfortable with your child really enjoying the toys, so a nominal insurance fee has been built into your monthly payment to cover the replacement of an occasional broken/damaged toy. All parts of the damaged/broken toy must be returned to us for your insurance to cover it. You will be charged current market value for the replacement of any lost or un-returned toys. Please see our Terms of Reference for more information.
How do I cancel my subscription?
You can cancel your Toy Exchange subscription anytime, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your payments will be cancelled once we receive all rented toys back to our warehouse.
Can I buy a toy from my Toy Exchange box to keep?
Absolutely! If your child loves a toy and just can't part with it, you can purchase it at a small discount (5-15% off current market value, depending on the toy). Just email us at email@example.com with your request.
Why are the toy boxes delivered every 3 months?
The three-month block allows for slight developmental differences amongst children, and provides time for your child to build the intended skill-sets. We have designed toy collections that should offer your child challenge and stimulation throughout the 3-month period. Your child will engage with different toys at different times throughout the 3 months, based on what they are developmentally ready for.
Why are some of your toys used outside of the manufacturer's intended age range?
We may include toys in a box intended for an age range that is outside of what the manufacturer recommends. We may also suggest ways to use the toy that are different than the manufacturer's intended use. This is because we believe that it will be a useful toy/way to use the toy for your child at this specific age.