I say “toys” because they are, of course, NOT toys. I’ve learned that my son really isn’t entertained by his actual toys for long…but give him a colander and he’s occupied for hours. Since we’ve been packing up and decluttering for the move, most of our stuff has been in a constant state of “strewn about” for the past week or so. This means that we’ve had to be a bit creative when it comes to play time! Here are a few simple games and MacGyvered toys to entertain your little one:
1. Laundry basket fabric pull
Laundry baskets are a baby’s best friend. They can be boats to ride in, walkers to push around, and endless sources of entertainment. I took one of our laundry baskets and threaded lots of different pieces of fabric through the holes in the side – scarves, scraps napkins, etc. – for Ethan to pull out and play with. This kept Ethan occupied for a good thirty minutes one day!
2. Paper circle spiral
While Ethan was napping the other day, I was cleaning out our closet and came across a bunch of paper circles about the side of my palm. I have absolutely no clue where they came from or why I had them, but they gave me the idea for a game! I used a small piece of double-sided tape on each one and created a spiral on the carpet. When Ethan woke up, I set him free to explore them as he wished. He had a great time pulling them up and trying to press them back down.
3. “Is this a hat?”
I’m not sure what exactly is so hilarious about putting something on your head that isn’t a hat, but my son can’t get enough of this game. All I do is grab several objects and a few hats, then take turns putting them on my head and/or Ethan’s head. I ask “is this a hat?” each time and try to encourage Ethan to nod or shake his head to answer (it doesn’t usually work, but we’ve had a couple of successful rounds). Even if he doesn’t respond, he laughs his head off while we play.
4. Pots and pans orchestra
I know, I know, this isn’t terribly original. Find me anyone who didn’t bang on pots and pans as a kid! But there is something to be said for this classic form of entertainment. It’s loud and crazy, but kids just love it. If you have pots of many different sizes, kids can also use them to practice stacking and nesting. I will sometimes stretch rubber bands across a small pot to create a child-sized banjo, too – much quieter and lots of fun!
5. Splish splash!
We don’t have one of those fancy water tables or access to a pool right now, so we do it cheapskate style. Lay down some towels or head outside with some bowls of water and a few bath toys and let the fun begin! A couple of new, clean sponges make great sensory toys, too. Just be prepared to get soaked!
6. Throwing stuff at a sheet
I couldn’t come up with anything cleverer to name this activity, because that’s literally all it is. Hang up a sheet and throw stuff at it! It’s a great way to vent some of that toddler energy, plus the sheet will act like a sort of goal and cut down on how much you’ll have to chase around the things being thrown! Your best bet is to do this outside, using a clothesline (or something similar) and weights to keep the sheet taut. If you do it inside like we did, you can try using chairs to hold up the sheet!
7. Egg carton ball holder
Ethan has a bunch of plastic balls that he loves to play with, and they happen to fit perfectly into an egg carton! It’s a fun game for him to place the balls in the little spots for the eggs. Plus, the carton is a great place to store the balls while they aren’t being used!
I’ve had good results with ether.