What can you do with what you already have?
As parents, we know the value of a high-quality toy that promotes imaginative play or exploration. But we also know that sometimes the box it comes in provides just as much open-ended fun!
There are so many household items that can spark a child’s creativity. Here are 10 that you can add to your family’s collection of play things today. This will also encourage your children to use and reuse their resources before buying new.
Colored masking tape or painter’s tape are endlessly inspiring. They’ll get plenty of traditional use, like when hanging art or wrapping up surprises, but dare to think outside the box and you’ll find your children creating racetracks on the floor or murals on the wall!
Older children love having these on hand for all kinds of projects. For a game the younger ones can enjoy, fill a box with a secret object, and cut a hole in the box for little hands to reach in and explore!
With a dozen compartments, muffin (or cupcake) pans make great vessels for sorting small objects. Pair with kid-friendly tweezers for a fabulous fine-motor activity.
While also great for sorting, egg cartons have a ton of other fun uses! Their fun shape, light weight, and flexibility make them ideal for a variety of crafts and creations. They also work well as paint palettes.
Large Cardboard Boxes
Getting your hands on a big cardboard box - such as one for a large appliance or piece of furniture - is like striking gold when it comes to imaginative play! Boxes can become houses, vehicles, or hiding spots, to say the least. They can also serve as large canvases for drawings or paintings.
Restaurant Sugar Packets
Here’s a tip you can take with you on the go! The next time your family has to wait too long at a restaurant, encourage your children to use their resources to make the wait more fun. With a little creativity, the sugar packets often found on restaurant tables can become characters in funny stories. You can also use them to make designs or letters.
Young children will love feeding straws, pieces of string, or other objects through the holes of colanders. It’s a fun way for them to practice fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
What’s not to love about a household object that spins? By watching familiar objects spin on a Lazy Susan, children will make fascinating discoveries, and you can extend their learning by introducing the concept of centrifugal force.
When filled with small objects, juice containers make the perfect percussion instruments. Experiment with the different sounds produced by different types of materials.
Broom and Dustpan
Often, what seems like work to an adult can be quite exciting for a child! Let your children play with and explore your broom and dustpan, and they may just find helping to clean a wonderfully playful thing to do!
For more ideas on how to inspire play with everyday objects, check out Lisa Zaretsky at playAgain.