April 30, 2012

New toys for Vinny

Today it's Queen's Day in the Netherlands. April 30th, like every year. Official holiday, celebrations and parties everywhere. Part of the Queen's Day tradition is the 'Vrijmarkt', which literally translates to 'Free Market'. This basically means that anyone can lay out a blanket in the street (designated locations) and put old stuff up for sale. You'll see all kinds of stuff: pots & pans, clothes, weird antiques from the attic, complete collections of whatever people want to get rid of...

Lots of toys to be found that are safe for parrots
One of the things that you will frequently find, is toys. Lots and lots of toys that kids have grown out of. And that's why we went on our own scavenger hunt today at the 'Vrijmarkt' in Groningen City.

Cool people, weird stuff
The things we've been specifically looking for, are small colorful plastic toys that are Eclectus-resistant. No rubber parts that he can chew off, no small parts that can come off, you get the idea. Then of course we were also keeping an eye on safety. No metal parts (unless it's stainless steel), no sharp edges, no toxic paints, no unknown types of wood ... again, you get my drift.

The one thing that we've found quite a number of times, are small plastic 'Fisher Price' type key rings, little spoons and cute things like that. We also found a perfect basket for Vinny to sit on that can hold his toys, so he can pick out one to play with. On the side, we also found a few Coca Cola collector's items that are for the other big kid (me).

More weird stuff
Overall we got about 15 to 20 toys for an average of 60 cents a piece. Once run through the dishwasher (if it won't survive the dishwasher, it deserves to be tossed anyway), they're good to go and we'll give Vinny the first batch. See, what we're trying to do, is not give them all at the same time, but spread them out, no more than 4 or 5 at the same time. We've discovered that Vinny gets bored of a toy in about a week, and to keep him stimulated, we need to do some kind of rotation system for his toys.

So, if you're in or anywhere near the Netherlands next year on April 30th (and the night before), make sure you read up on the Vrijmarkt and other events going on. You'll have a blast, for sure! And you'll be able to find good toys for your parrot. Other flea markets and yard sales might also be a good place to look for cheap toys to buy in bulk. Tip of the day!

Where do you get your parrot toys and what do you spend on those per year?

Our loot for the day

General impression of a Dutch Queen's Day's flea market

Be amazed at the stuff people collect over time