Have you ever bought a toy your child just couldn’t live without (in my recent case, PJ mask figurines), only to have them play more with the box it came in? I have.
I have fallen victim to the Target toy spree, and purchased many toys that make sounds. They have all, undoubtedly, become possessed with a demon spirit and started to play sounds on their own in the middle of the night. Then I ask myself why I bought the toys in the first place. Why do they have a million pieces that disappear? And why didn’t I spend the $29.99 (plus tax) on wine?
Moms, don’t fear. There are a few hacks you can keep up your sleeve to make toys out of everyday items you have around the house. I am not what they would call the “creative” type, so if I can do it, so can you. These toys will be “new” and best of all, free. So you can buy yourself wine.
Take an empty can with a plastic lid (oatmeal, grits, puffs, etc). Use the point of your scissors to make a hole in the lid, then cut the hole to make it big enough to barely fit a straw. You’ll have to try fitting a straw a few times to get it right. You want there to be a little resistance when pushing the straw into the hole. Cut up some plastic straws into thirds. Put the lid back on and let your kids push the straws into the hole.
I made this can of puffs into a game when my boys were around 12 months old, and it is still going strong with baby sister almost four years later. Free. Easy. Fun.
Take an empty cardboard box (snack box, shoe box, etc.) and a deck of playing cards. Cut a slit on the top of the box. Let kids feed cards, one by one, into the box. I have found that my kids like this better when there is a little resistance when pushing in the card.
3. Strainer and pipe cleaners
Get some pipe cleaners and a strainer. Push one pipe cleaner all the way through and then give the rest to the kids. I’ll go ahead and say that this game is not for all kids. One of my twins loves it, and the other one runs away every time I pull it out. This is great at working those little fingers.
4. Wipes container
Do you have any small toys or spare parts of lost toys? Do you have an empty wipes container? Give all of the above to your kids and just watch what they do. I now understand why kids love to stuff things into any available crevice.
5. Cup stacking
Time to dust off your party red solo cups and give them to your kids as a toy. No instructions needed. They may stack them, they may line them up, they may build a tower, or they may sort small toys in the cups. If you are feeling extra bold, give them a handful of dried pasta noodles or some counting bears, and watch their imaginations go to work.