Posted in Needed items

Answering the Call…for Chess Sets and Legos

Beyond The Classroom (BTC) is our before- and after-school program at Holy Redeemer. BTC is requesting donations of chess boards and Legos.

Here are my ideas for how we can come together as a community to make these humble dreams come true:


The reason I never mind donating our unused games, books, and toys to BTC is because my kids will get a chance to play with them at school instead of at home.

Here are some ideas for how we can all help to beef up BTC’s (and BTC kids’) access to chess sets:

Donate any/all unused, extra chess sets at your house. We have two extra sets because I mistook my kids’ enthusiasm for playing with Doug’s 30-year-old chess set as enthusiasm for chess. (In fact, it is their enthusiasm for Doug that keeps them playing with his set.) So, a Star Wars chess set and a handmade wooden set in bright colors are making their way to BTC from our house this week.

Keep an eye out in your neighborhood for free and cheap sets. And by “neighborhood,” I mean yard sales as well as your neighborhood’s Buy Nothing or otherwise free Facebook pages.

Make a chess set to donate. If you are crafty and a bit ambitious, explore making a chess set at home with your kids out of materials you already have available and/or a trip to Scrap. We have not done this, but now that I have that idea, we just might!

When you are at thrift stores or discount stores, stop by the toy aisle (this is our first stop if the kids are with me) and see if there are chess sets available. They are usually $2.99 at Goodwill. Note that a complete chess set has a board, and 32 pieces – 16 of one color, and 16 of another. The 16 of each color should include: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns.

Please note that Chess Club needs chess sets too!


Legos are harder because who has extra Legos? That’s like saying who has “extra” sleep, “extra” sunny days in winter, or “extra” pedicures in the summer. Impossible! You can never have too much of these good things.

Here are a couple approaches I can think of for making sure BTC (and BTC children) get more Legos:

Many hands make light work. Last year Mrs. Barasch said, “If every family were to donate five Lego bricks, we’d have everything we needed!” Can your family donate five bricks? (Or ten?) Would your kids even notice?

Graduation gift to the school? Are your children outgrowing Legos? (Does that even happen?) If your kids have moved on, consider donating more than 5 bricks before packing them off in your attic for the grandkids to one day enjoy.

Duplos, too? Children can integrate Duplos into Lego structures, so extra Duplos could be useful donations. These might be easier to part with.

Thrift stores, in my expert opinion, rarely have Legos. Once we did find a bag of dirty bricks (sandbox??) for $4.99 at Value Village and we hooted and hollered. Goodwill occasionally has 99-cent fake minifigures that are Lego compatible. That said, if you ever spot Legos at a thrift store, consider buying them for BTC.

Hang out on Cornish beaches. Donate what you discover.

Philanthropy. In reality, the most effective means of getting BTC (and BTC children) the Legos they need might be a handful of generous HR community members’ purchasing and donating bricks. If you can be one of these Lego heroes, consider some thoughts:

  • Buy Scrip gift cards for Fred Meyer or Target, and then use those cards to shop for Lego bricks.
  • Set Holy Redeemer Catholic School as your “charity” on Amazon Smile, then go shopping for big brick sets. More bricks for your buck.
  • Some cheaper bricks are compatible with Legos, like MegaBlocks microbricks.
  • Read this blog post (and the comments!) about ways to find affordable Legos – including a tip for filling a flat-rate, bulk container of bricks (at a Lego store) most cost-effectively.

If you have these items to donate, please drop them off with Ms. Lonney in the school office, or send them along with your children to BTC at drop off or pick up time.

What ideas do you have for getting the BTC (and BTC kids) more chess sets and Legos? 

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