A Few Tips for Shipping Toys, Games and Puzzles

A Few Tips for Shipping Toys, Games and PuzzlesShipping toys, games and puzzles, whether as gifts or purchases, is easier than, say, shipping musical instruments or perishable items. However, there are still things to consider if you want your package to arrive in good condition. Let us offer you a few tips for shipping toys, games and puzzles.

The main issue regarding shipping toys is that some toys are powered by batteries, which are classified as dangerous goods since they can leak or catch fire due to pressure changes when transported by air. Because of this, you should ship toys without batteries whenever possible.

If the toys you ship are powered by single-use alkaline batteries, which are cheap and widely available, you can simply remove them from the toys and ask the recipient to purchase their own batteries. It’s the easiest and most sustainable solution for all parties involved; just don’t forget to warn customers that batteries are not included if you sell toys.

However, some toys are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are subject to regulations and restrictions. If batteries can be removed, you can ship them separately from toys, following the shipping guidelines for Li-ion batteries. If they are non-removable, your package with toys will have to be treated as dangerous goods, which means that you will need to:

  • Check out the carrier’s guidelines for shipping dangerous goods because different carriers might have slightly different rules.
  • Ensure that your shipment is packed according to specific guidelines (for example, you will probably be required to put a protective cap over the toy’s switch to keep it from turning on while in transit).
  • Label the package appropriately.
  • Make sure that all paperwork is in order (your shipment may require a shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods).

If the toys you ship don’t contain batteries, things will be easier for you, but you still need to prepare them for shipping because proper packaging is essential for their safe arrival. For example, if the toys you ship are large and consist of several parts, it’s safer to disassemble them and pack each part in a separate labeled box or bag with enough protective cushioning. When shipping board games or jigsaw puzzles in their original boxes, secure them with clear adhesive tape to make sure they won’t open.

When shipping plush toys, put each toy in a Ziploc bag to protect it against dust and moisture. You should keep in mind that stuffed toys, while lightweight, can take up a lot of space. This means that the carrier will charge by dimensional weight, and shipping plush toys can turn out quite costly. To reduce the space the toys take up and thus your shipping costs, you can seal them in vacuum bags. However, this method can misshape stuffing, so you shouldn’t use vacuum bags for toys that have a sentimental value or if you sell stuffed toys.

All general packaging guidelines still apply when you ship toys, games and puzzles:

  • Use a sturdy box that is just large enough for the items you ship but not too large.
  • When shipping several items, wrap each item individually in bubble wrap and secure it with adhesive tape.
  • Arrange the items inside the box (heavier items should go on the bottom, and lighter or fragile items can be placed on top).
  • Fill any empty space with packing peanuts or another cushioning material. Make sure the contents of the box don’t move around when shaken; if they do, add more cushioning.
  • Seal the box with strong packing tape.
  • Print a shipping label and affix it to the box.

There are a few more things you need to remember when shipping toys. For example, toy guns may be subject to restrictions, especially when shipped internationally, as they resemble real weapons. Many carriers consider toy guns as goods not recommended for shipping, so we strongly advise that you check with your carrier before shipping them.

If you intend to ship expensive toys or board games, antique toys, collectible figurines, etc., we recommend that you purchase additional insurance. Finally, you shouldn’t try to save on shipping by attempting to ship puzzles as Media Mail (an affordable delivery method for educational materials offered by the United States Postal Service): the USPS does not classify puzzles as educational materials even when manufacturers market them as such.