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Shelves full of Duplo, K’NEX, toy cars, puzzles, Barbies with all the accessories, dinosaurs, scooters, pirate ships, castles and even dollhouses complete and workbenches with play tools. The ladies of Speel-o-theek De Piramide have managed to expand their range of toys from 100 to over 600 in less than a year.

With the lofty goal of “Equal Opportunity for Every Child”, Ria, Leah and Neil have been spending every Wednesday at their lending shop ever since. “We already have fifty members,” Ria says excitedly. “And you know what we like so much? It’s so cozy here every Wednesday afternoon that the play has become a kind of meeting place for kids and their parents.”

Written by: Kevin Muir

After working for forty years in the lower years of primary education, Ria Tilborks has amassed an attic full of toys. “With my classes I worked a lot on the basis of subjects,” said the initiator. “I have collected children’s games on these topics. Zoos, farms, space travel, dinosaurs. I had plenty of games for every topic that the kids liked.”

To give the games a second life, Ria contacted the Waterland Library. “I came up with the idea to donate the games to the library so that children could use them for free. I had positive feedback from the head office in Burmerend, but I asked to put it in the Edam or Volendam library. This request led to a very long waiting time.”


While Ria was waiting for the libraries to respond, her daughter came up with a creative solution. “My daughter works as a teacher at De Piramide Primary School and she told me there was still an empty classroom at their disposal. After proposing the idea of ​​a game library – in fact a game library – to Headmaster Remko Homann, the future looked bright. He turned out to be just as excited as I was.”

From a schoolroom inside Edam Elementary School, in March 2022 Ria started with a hundred games. “In the early days, the play was only open on Wednesday mornings,” Ria continues. But those working hours prevented children from other schools from coming to borrow toys. The solution presented itself thanks to the help of Lia bij ‘t Vuur and Nel van Sinderen.

We are not only friends, but we also share the same educational background. The three of us managed to keep the game library open on Wednesday afternoons, too. The leadership of the pyramid has also shown flexibility with regard to working hours. We are so grateful that we can use this great local site for free. The school is very welcoming and the caretaker is very helpful.” “Moreover, we are free to enjoy delicious coffee and tea in the school kitchen,” laughs Ria.

600 unique games

To expand the scope of the games, Ria, Leah and Neil visited several flea markets and the gift shop last year. “We were allowed to take the toys that were left over after the flea markets closed for play-o-theque,” says Lia. “At the same time, people knew how to find us with toys that were no longer in use. We even had donations in the bank here on the counter. In no time, our collection consisted of 600 different game pieces.”

“All municipal children are very welcome to come and borrow toys.”

The games available at play-o-theek are arranged by age and category. Upon entering you walk through scaffolding filled to the brim with Duplo storage boxes, next to it are tricycles, bikes and scooters, then a puzzle section, puppets corner, educational toys, wooden toys and of course a whole children’s section. . Neil: Every child between the ages of zero and twelve can enjoy play-o-theque. For example, if a child is interested in borrowing a Duplo farm, we recommend bringing in the Duplo fire brigade. So little ones can create a story with their toys. Nice isn’t it?”

The play-o-theque is sustainable, space-saving, and completely free. “Our motto is ‘equal opportunities for all children,’” says Ria. “All municipality children are welcome to come and borrow toys. You just need to register. In the form, we write the name, address, phone number and the toys being borrowed. All games are numbered, so we can keep track of what we have and when we can expect something to come back. Toys can be borrowed for two months and children can borrow five items per title. So they can also borrow toys from grandparents or other caregivers.”

The child-friendly initiative has proven successful. With fifty members already, a growing range of games and a social function in the area, the play-o-theque is of great value to the municipality. “When primary schools are out of school at two o’clock in the afternoon, it is always crowded here. Play-o-theque has become a meeting place for children and their parents. We hope that we can delight many children with beautiful, interesting and educational games in the years to come.”

The play-o-theque is located in the building of De Piramide primary school on Langemeerstraat Edam. The request is to use the entrance on the Buikslotermeerstraat side when visiting the games library. Play-o-theque is open every Wednesday from 8 am to 6 pm. For more information, visit the “Speel-o-theek De Piramide” Facebook page.

Would you like to contribute? Ria, Lia and Nel are always looking for usable toys that still look stylish. A cash contribution to the piggy bank can be made at the Speel-o-theek table. The ladies of Speel-O-theek are looking for someone who can voluntarily help set up an informational site. Would you like to help this great initiative with their own website? Please contact us by email Riatilburgs01@gmail.com.

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