Toys for charity

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Please note that some of the advice we provide to businesses is chargeable.

Unwanted toys

Donating unwanted toys to charity through an organised scheme can give a child's discarded but once cherished playthings a new lease of life.

This advice is intended to guide those who take part in such schemes to ensure that only safe and suitable toys reach the children for whom they are intended.

Donators of toys

Please don't donate: 

  • discarded toys which have reached the end of their useful life
  • soft toys, unless they are new or in as-new condition
  • toys for use in water, or which young children might be encouraged to suck
  • toys which have suffered significant damage, for example missing wheels which leave sharp points exposed

Where the original packing or manufacturer's instructions are still available, they should be handed in with the toy.

Recycling depots

Ideally, toys donated to the scheme should be those which are, for whatever reason, unwanted.

It is important that anyone wanting to donate toys is told about the above requirements so that they can sort their toys accordingly. Once toys are received, the following actions should be taken.


  • any soft toys unless new or in new condition
  • toys which are visibly dirty
  • broken toys
  • toys which are obviously very old
  • toys which include any hair or fibres
  • toys which require close adult supervision, like chemistry sets
  • electrical toys - unless they are in working order; have no frayed wires and are fitted with a proper plug; the instructions are included

Closely examine the remaining toys for small parts which are or could become loose like eyes, noses, or small wheels. Carry out checks for sharp points, edges or spikes. Remove and safely dispose of any batteries.

After toys have been checked they should be stored in a clean, dry area to await collection.

Charities collecting toys

Charities collecting toys for use by children in their care should keep the following points in mind:

  • make sure the toys you receive are suitable for the correct age of the children who are to use them
  • always comply with any age range marked on the toys
  • ensure that there are no small parts (e.g. hair or eyes) that could come loose and the toys are free from sharp points and edges
  • throw away any packaging which could be dangerous, including plastic bags
  • show the child how to play with the toy correctly and safely. Comply with any manufacturer's instructions, if available
  • don't permit very young children to play with unsuitable toys, and remember that there will be some toys which require children to be supervised during play
  • check toys regularly and dispose of any broken ones. Watch out for leaking batteries