Thursday, October 23, 2008
13 Everyday objects to put in a toddler's busy box
As part of my 15 month-old's daily routine, she spends twenty minutes playing alone on a blanket.
As long as she has something interesting to do there, she is very content to sit quietly (and in fact, she emerges from the time a more peaceful, happier baby than when she began).
The challenge, sometimes, is coming up with interesting things for her to explore each day. We have neither the space, money, nor inclination to keep filling the house with new toys; but I have found that there are everyday household items that can do just as well.
Here are some of the more successful everyday objects turned toddler toys:
1. Spools of thread- good for stacking and placing in and out of a container.
2. Tupperware containers- or old sour cream, yogurt containers, etc. She especially likes putting the lids on and off.
3. Water bottles half- filled with water (with lids tightly screwed on!) she loves to shake them and watch the water splash.
4. Old photographs. We have a lot of extra copies of pictures or prints that didn't turn out as well as we would have liked around the house. My baby LOVES looking at these and pointing out people she knows.
5. Dominoes-They make such a satisfying "clink" when they knock together. Great for stacking.
6. Spoons- especially if there is some sort of container for her to bang them on.
7. Stack of Paper Cups. These are great for nesting.
8. Cassette Tape holders- Fun to open and close and put little things in them.
9. Set of Playing Cards- If you have a deck that is missing a card or two, you could still get some good use out of them by giving them to your baby. My aunt and uncle had a deck like this that they covered with photographs. Whenever they played card games with friends, they would take out their baby's deck so she wouldn't be tempted to grab at the cards in their hands.
10. Measuring Cups- especially the kind that are strung together on a ring.
11. Sweet Potatoes- Truly! There is a definite "creatureliness" to their appearance, which, I guess is the reason my daughter seems to have an affection for them. She treats them like dolls and carries them around the house if I let her.
12. Clothes pins- But if they are the new kind, you might want keep an eye on your baby with them. Mine has a tendency to pinch herself and get upset.
13. Cookie cutters. If you have carpet, these are fun to press into the pile and then "erase" by rubbing at the shapes.
Even with all these options, some days I'm still at a loss for what to give my daughter during blanket time. I would love to hear about the everyday things you've turned into toys!