As I wrote the post on managing your child’s toy collection, I realized how many things we used as an alternative to toys. Here are some everyday items in your house that can double as a toy for your adventurous little one. My daughter is fifteen months old right now, a peak time for such alternatives. Admittedly, these solutions may not be right for your older child.
Laundry basket: Our daughter either gets into and out of the laundry basket over and over again or she wants to be pushed around in it as she sits inside. She also torments our cat as it relaxes in the laundry basket. She likes to push the basket around the room and crash into things too. It can also double as a place for all of her regular toys.
Boxes: My daughter loves to throw things into boxes, so before we throw any old shoe boxes away we give them to her to play with until she destroys them.
Measuring cups: This is a nice alternative to the plastic keys she has. From five to ten months old she loved playing with her measuring cups. She doesn’t really like them these days.
Bottled water: Shaking a bottle of water keeps her occupied for quite some time on long car trips. Just make sure the cap is on tightly.
Cups: Nesting plastic cups can keep her entranced for fifteen to twenty minutes, and that is like an eternity for our daughter who is moving non-stop.
Keys: Give your kid a set of keys, but just make sure to remove the door lock contraption from the ring. Kids love pressing buttons and the panic button is usually red which is even more appealing.
Cellphone: Playing with an old cellphone lets her mimic her parents. We removed the battery from an old one and she pretends to talk to someone (most likely Elmo).
Blankets and pillows: They can be used to make tents or tunnels with some help from the furniture.
Obviously, these aren’t going to replace every toy, but they can offset the accumulation of more toys.