5 simple household objects that double as toddler toys
Sometimes keeping your wee one busy isn’t as complicated as it seems. Playing with everyday household objects is not only fascinating for your Toddler, but finding new uses for old items encourages the growth of their imaginations and creative thinking abilities. Skip on some screen time and find the fun right under your noses with these suggestions!
- Plastic bottles: Recycle plastic bottles into fun noise makers! Rinse and dry a plastic water or soda bottle and remove the label. Fill the bottle part way with dry rice, or uncooked beans or pasta. If you have colorful beads or other small toys (jacks, marbles) in a junk drawer feel free to include those as well! Be sure to close the top of the bottle and to secure the cap with electrical or duct tape to keep it from coming loose. After that, all that’s left to do is to hand it off to your budding percussionist to shake shake shake all over the house!
- Old tech: Toddlers love playing with your “toys,” but that doesn’t mean you have to hand over your iPhone to your tiny techie every time they reach for it. Instead, you can use old land-line phones, out-of-use remote controls, obsolete video game controllers, or anything else with switches or buttons to give Baby some grown up equipment of their very own! Once you’ve removed batteries, cords, and any loose parts that could become choking hazards, Baby will love mashing the buttons and using their imagination with these kinds of toys, and you get to keep the real TV remote safely out of reach.
- Empty paper towel, wrapping paper and toilet paper rolls: Keep your rolls! These cardboard tubes may not look that exciting to you, but they can be transformed by a toddler’s imagination into hours of fun. Once you’ve started saving them up, you can save a box or bin of them and encourage stacking, building, and rolling. Baby can use them as musical instruments, wands or telescopes. they can build tunnels for small cars to race through, or you can tape a long roll or several small rolls to the wall vertically, and teach them to stick cotton balls or wadded up tissues in the opening at the top and watch them watch as they fall out the bottom onto the floor. Endless. Fun.
- Kitchenware: Plastic and wooden bowls and cups can have plenty of fun uses besides holding food. They can be stacked, sorted, or even worn as hats. Combined with spoons they make great drums. Kids can practice “stirring” objects of different sizes around in the bowls (beads, uncooked pasta, or small toys work great for this). A colander and some pipe cleaners provide an opportunity to practice fine motor skills, and to create some cool 3D shapes. Pro tip: avoid using pots and pans for play. That way it won’t be confusing when they’re on the hot stove top and off limits for little hands.
- Laundry: Yup. Even laundry is fun… when you’re not the one actually cleaning it. A laundry basket empty or full provides a ton of free entertainment! Fill a shallow laundry basket with clean or gently used clothing for freeform digging, burying and burrowing. Take turns hiding a toy in the middle of a pile of clothes and finding it. Toss toys or rolled up socks into the basket from across the room. Practice colors by sorting socks or other items in or out of the basket, or let your mini-me “help” you with the housework by “folding” towels or pillowcases while you do other work.