12 Household Items That Make Great Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Have you ever given your child a gift and notice that he’s more interested in the packaging than the toy itself? I have found that kids usually have more fun with pretend play than they do with expensive toys. To save money and cut back on clutter, I used this knowledge to my advantage and started using what I already have to keep my children entertained. Here is a list of household items that can double as toys.

1. Colander. A colander is a great item for your child to practice fine motor skills by pushing pipe cleaners through the holes. My toddler is also know for placing it on his head and playing fireman!

2. Water bottles. You can make sensory and discovery bottles out of these. Place small bottles in them to make rattles for babies. Hide small item in rice to create I Spy bottles. Fill them with oil, corn syrup or food coloring to teach older children about different textures.

3. Cardboard boxes. My toddler decorated a larger box as a doll house and uses a smaller box as a bed for her dolls.

4. Empty wipes containers. Children can push items through the opening. I place fabric scraps in them so my toddler can pull them out.

5. Plastic cups. Your child can use cups for water and sand play, scooping and stacking.

6. Laundry baskets. They can be used as cars, trains or boats. They can play basketball by throwing balls or stuffed animals in them. This is a great way to get them to clean up.

7. Plastic container with lids. While I cook, I give my toddler containers to match by size and color and match them up with the lids. They also make great bath and sand toys.

8. Old clothing. Children love playing dress up. I repurposed some old clothing to fit my kids. You can give them old costume jewelry, hats, scarves, and other accessories.

9. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls. You can make music instruments by taping each end and placing buttons or other small items inside. You can make a marble run by placing paper rolls on the floor or taping them to a wall and letting your child push or drop marbles through them.

10. Flashlights. Flashlights are great for imaginary play. You can have them go on a treasure or scavenger hunt and let them explore.

11. Old cell phones. Kids love playing with anything with buttons. I let my child play with an old remote control which is just as fun. Just make sure to remove the batteries.

12. Pots and pans. From using them as musical instruments to playing kitchen, these classical toys can provide a whole afternoon of fun.

What household items do you use as toys?

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