Ways to have fun without mountains of toys
Young children are eager to engage in creative play will often prefer simple games over manufactured toys.
Activities that require little or no “stuff”:
- Reading aloud
- Tire swings
- Hide and seek
- Tic tac toe
- Playing catch (with beanbags for little ones)
- Playing cards
Household items that can become safe toys:
- Empty cardboard boxes
- Extra pots and wooden spoons for homemade drum sets
- Toilet paper rolls and a ball of aluminum foil (or a rubber band ball) for a child-size bowling alley
- Canisters, paper towel rolls, and toilet paper rolls with slits cut into the tubes can be interlocked to build play castles.
- Common kitchen ingredients that can be made into homemade play dough.
- Objects that mimic what Mom and Dad are doing. For example: clean, empty food containers (such as rinsed-out milk cartons and oat canisters) and a spare mixing bowl and spoon, so the child can “cook” along with Mom and Dad in the kitchen.
- Clothes you no longer wear, including accessories like sunglasses and old purses, for playing dress-up.
- All kinds of items will become toys for curious children. As long as baby is safe and supervised, an hour-long fascination with a pile of laundry isn’t such a bad thing.
Enduring toys that use kid power instead of battery power:
- Non-toxic crayons and scrap paper (like junk mail and the backs of flyers)
- Wooden blocks (such as these made from reclaimed wood)
- Sturdy jigsaw puzzles
- Felt boards (Here’s how to make your own.)
- Toy cars and trucks
- Stuffed animals