The incredibly brilliant Toy Society is the perfect solution for those who love to craft but don't know what to do with their numerous finished projects: Give them away to people as an anonymously-left gift.
The project started in Australia back in 2008 and has since grown to be nicknamed, "a Random Act of Craft." Those who wish to participate sign up for the Toy Society (it has over 2,500 members), create a handmade toy, place it inside a Ziploc bag with a form downloaded from the site and leave it in a random location. Each crafter also registers their "drop" on the Toy Society site and finders hopefully visit the site as per the instructions on the form and talk about finding the toy. Or not -- there is no pressure or expectation that finders will ever write in about their experience. This is about giving for giving's sake.
My favorite book growing up was the Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It's about a boy, Milo, who comes home from school one day and discovers a mysterious present left in the middle of his room. And because he finds that gift, he goes on this incredible adventure and it completely changes who he is at his core.
And that's sort of how I feel about the Toy Society. Someone going through their day, maybe even walking the same path they walk day in and day out, suddenly finds this present, mysteriously and anonymously left to change their day. Hopefully, it changes the finder too -- perhaps it makes the finder a little more generous in the future and the gift keeps paying forward.
I'm not the only one raving about the brilliance of the Toy Society:
- You can peruse the found listings where people talk about their experience finding the toy including: "I was having one of the worst days I've had in as long as I can remember, and it really cheered everyone up" for toy #1075 and "I brought her to my friend in hospital who is desperately in need of a hug and a smile" for toy #959.
- Design Mom is putting it on her list of things to do with her kids this summer.
- The Two Windmills talks about why she participates and the important lesson of doing things without knowing if you'll get a thank you.
- ToyXplosion at first thought it was a toy store by the name and was so excited to learn the reality of the project.
- Mommys Who Blog speaks emotionally about the project and involving her son in the creation of their toy. She writes, "The Toy Society celebrates creating handmade toys, the value of sharing yet expecting nothing in return, and the thrill of embarking on a secret adventure."
- Instructables has step by step instructions for those wishing to get involved with the project.
- Cut Out and Keep has instructions on a simple doll you can make if you want to participate.
- Craftzine has a great photograph from a drop.
- Giggleface Studios admits that prying the creation out of your children's hands in order to drop it off is always the hardest part of the project.
- And Nikkishell writes about the mass of drops that occurred right by Christmas last year -- a good heads-up for anyone who wants to use the summer to get a lot of gifts ready for the winter season.
So who is going to do this with me?
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