What inspired you to develop the Operation Playtime app?
I have two kids, ages three and five. My brother has three kids. Between the two homes, we’re bombarded with toys, gifts, and hand-me-downs. We’re very fortunate to have these things but it does create waste – about 80% of unwanted toys end up in landfills. There has to be a solution for all of that.
Not every child has the same opportunity to access toys when they regularly cost $20, $30, and more. We wondered if there was a better way to pass along toys that makes it fair for people. Operation Playtime offers toys and games on a fixed price structure – $0 (donation), $5, $10, $15, or $20 – that helps toys find new homes.
How does it work?
People download the app for iOS or Android. Sellers create a profile and can upload a photo of a toy for sale, include a brief description, choose a price, and post it. Buyers can search for toys based on their child’s age, toy category, and price point or just browse through items for sale.
For sellers, there’s no fee. There is a small fixed fee for buyers.
Who do you see using the app?
The idea was inspired by parents and daycares who are looking to part with toys or who want to find toys new to their child at a fair price. It’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on a new toy that a child may play with for just three to six months, if that. Sustainability is also a big part of this. New toys and games often come packaged in a bunch of plastic and cardboard that immediately gets thrown out and ends up in a landfill. It’s not that people aren’t mindful of this fact, its just a general practice.
What toys have you seen posted on Operation Playtime?
So far its been a really good mix. We’re in a soft-launch stage, having just released the app a few months ago, so we’re still building the database of toys and games. We see lots of action figures, cars, plush toys, books, and puzzles.
Why is now the right time to release Operation Playtime?
I don’t think any time would be a bad time to release the app. It’s been needed for a while. Parents want an outlet to pass along their gently used toys and buy new ones for their children. A toy doesn’t normally have a long life with a child, but there’s still a lot of life in those toys. Another child will have entirely new adventures with it.
Visit Operation Playtime to find links to download the app (available only in the US for now) on Google Play and the App Store.