If you are parent, you know that you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on fancy plastic toys for birthdays and holidays. Then, when it comes time for your baby/toddler/preschooler to open them, they prefer to play with the box. Yep, the box!I'll never forget the Savy Preschooler's first birthday. We spent so much time planning out the perfect present (singing and dancing Mickey Mouse) and the toy he loved most from the day? The box.
Since then I have watched my kids have a blast playing with all sorts of household items. Here is a list of what we love to reuse as toys and how we use them:
Laundry Baskets: These make the perfect boat or hideaway. They love to see how many of them can fit into one or if they can "trap" the baby under it. We have pushed them around the in one while they giggle and squeal in delight.
Cardboard Boxes: I mean, who doesn't love a good cardboard box?! It's the perfect canvas for imaginative play. Small boxes are fun stacking and knocking down. They make the perfect canvas for an art project. And if big enough, they make amazing tunnels, caves and houses! The possibilities are endless!
Tissue Paper: You know, the stuff that adults get out of the way to get to the actual gift? Well, for kids this is the real gift, especially when inside the tissue paper are boring new clothes. Tissue paper is fun to shove into any place possible. It makes the most amazing noise when crinkled and you can easily tear it into a million pieces (much to mom's dismay).
Tissue Boxes and Baby Wipes Containers: You know the perfect place to shove tissue paper? In one of these of course! These are great for sorting games and showing anything you can find around the house into. Our nanny recently got some really large arts and craft pom-poms in various colors and put them into an empty wipes container. This is Savy Baby's most played with "toy!" Singing Elmo doesn't stand a chance against this!
Bubble Wrap: This is definitely one for the older crowd (3-5). When I get new bubble wrap in a package in the mail, our two oldest children are BEGGING to set it down on the kitchen floor and jump on it to pop the bubbles. It makes for a fun way to burn off that lingering pre-bedtime energy!
Paper Towel Rolls: We all know these. Those infamous cardboard rolls on the inside of paper towels that are left lingering all around our kitchen. Well, in our house, these make great swords! They are light and flimsy enough that they don't hurt if hit accidentally and if they break, the kids are too sad since they know we have an abundance of them and there will be a new one soon! (This is where I wince slightly at the amount of paper towels we use daily).
Milk/Juice/Water Bottles: There are lots of fun options for these. You can play with them empty. You can make a little ocean inside complete with sand/seashells and blue water. Or you can make them into a fun sensory bottle like this. Any which way, our kids absolutely love playing with these!
Egg Cartons: This is one that are great for your play kitchen. Or you can use them to create fun sorting activities like this for your toddler/preschooler. They are also great for art projects and make good paint cups.