Lend and Learn Toy Libraries

Where kids play to learn and parents learn to play

Lend and Learn Overview

A free, fun place where parents can play with their children ages 0-5, interact with other parents, and ask trained staff questions about development or other concerns. Toys are available for check out so families can extend learning and play at home. There are locations with regular hours in Columbia and Centralia, and varying hours in other locations across mid-Missouri. 

Am I eligible for this program?

Residence

  • The Columbia and Centralia locations are open to all families regardless of residence. 

Ages

  • Designed for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers.

Income

  • The Columbia and Centralia locations are open to all families regardless of income.

Have questions or want to enroll?

Have more questions about the program? Give us a call and we’d be happy to talk to you! You can enroll in person at your first visit with a simple form, we can’t wait to play with you!

Location & Hours

Lend & Learn - Columbia

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 9:00am-12:30pm

Open when Columbia Public Schools are in session.

Lend & Learn - North

Hours

Tuesday: 9:00am-12:30pm

What to Expect

Services Available

Both locations managed by First Chance for Children offer experiences for children ages 0-5. The spaces are set up with fun activities from art supplies, infant areas, and riding toys, there’s something for every child’s interest. 

  • Food and Drink
    • Snacks are available for children and coffee and tea is available for parents. Outside food and drink is allowed, however we ask that you are mindful of those with allergies and avoid bringing peanut and other common allergen foods.

  • Outdoor Play
    • The Columbia location has an outdoor, unsupervised play area. 

  • Toy Check-out
    • Both locations have toys available to check out and take home. You can borrow up to four toys for up to one month at a time. 

  • Diapers and Wipes
    • Diapers are provided in the bathrooms for use during your time at the Lend and Learn. If you are in need of extra diapers let a staff know and they can help.

  • Parenting Support
    • Staff are trained in child development information and community resources. They would be happy to answer any questions you might have about your child and the resources available to you.

  • Group Events
    • During the summer and several times when Lend and Learn is open, we provide fun activities in the community. Ask a staff member about dates and locations and check out our Facebook page for more information.

Rules and Procedures

We have just a few general guidelines to keep the space safe and families healthy. If you have any questions or concerns give us a call or talk to the Lend and Learn Educator. 

  • General Safety
    • Our goal is to keep Lend and Learn a safe inviting space for all families. We ask that positive, clean language is used in the space and we do not support corporal punishment. If this guideline is not being following you may be asked to come back when you can model appropriate talk and behavior. We also understand as a part of normal development that kids can have challenging behaviors and mistakes happen. However, if your child has continuing behavior that puts other children’s safety at risk you may be asked to leave and return when the behaviors do not put other children at risk.

  • Enrollment and Signing In
    • There is a one page enrollment form for participation in the program. The information we gather helps up get funding from donors and foundations to keep the program open and free. After filling out the initial form, we ask that you sign in on the calendar each time you visit the Lend and Learn.

  • Toy Check Out
    • Families can check out up to 4 toys for one month and renew for a second month. We do not charge for missing or broken pieces, but ask that you let us know so that we can replace the items. 

  • Immunizations
    • While First Chance does not require you or your child to be current on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended immunizations to use our space and equipment, we do strongly recommend the practice of immunizations to reduce the spread of communicable diseases.

  • Illness
    • Children and adults who are currently exhibiting symptoms of (or have had the following symptoms during the past 24 hours) fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or general physical illness should not visit the Lend & Learn Library.  If a child or adult arrives at Lend and Learn with symptoms of illness or develops symptoms while here they will be asked to leave until they are well. If you or your child become ill with a serious communicable disease, such as influenza, within 24 hours after visiting one of our play spaces we ask that you contact First Chance for Children so we can take extra precautions to reduce the spread of illness.

Lend and Learn Library - Columbia

Lend and Learn Library North

Read about other programs

Find a service that's right for you and your family

Baby Bags

Diapers, wipes, hygiene items, and other supplies needed to provide care and comfort to children delivered along with Child development and safety information. Items are available at the First Chance office or through one of our partner programs.

Safe C.R.I.B.S.

Safe C.R.I.B.S., which stands for Community Resources, Infant Beds, and Support provides infants without a safe place to sleep a pack and play crib. The crib is delivered to the family and is followed by 5 additional home visits focusing on family wellbeing and child safety.

Baby U

Baby U is a home visiting program supporting families with their specific parenting needs. Using the Nurturing Parenting and Parents as Teachers models, staff walk alongside families with children prenatally through the first semester of kindergarten providing resources, education, and support.

Buy Bingo for Babies tickets!