You don’t need to spend a fortune on pricey kids toys for them to learn and explore – using household items as toys can provide hours of quality play!
The Benefits of Household Items as Toys
Guest post from the lovely Tracey Clayton, a mom of three girls and freelance parenting author.
No matter how many expensive and high-quality toys you purchased for your most precious ones, it seems they always want to play with simple household items instead! Did you know there are actually benefits of household items as toys?
There is a wide range of household items that can encourage children’s cognitive development. First of all, these utilize their creativity and imagination in the best possible way. Games that include these items are open-ended, and they develop kids’ motor skills through art and playing. Of course, parents should be very careful when choosing which of these items are appropriate. If children are not monitored closely, some can present potential choking hazards. Always keep a close eye on children when playing with smaller items and use your own judgement as to what is safe and appropriate for your own children.
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Here are nine of my favorite household items as toys:
Magnets — I believe that there is no kitchen without colorful magnets brought from different family vacations and road trips. I always let my daughters playing with them, and they really love it. I usually use a tape and create a triangle or a square on the refrigerator, and let them move all those magnets into it.
Alphabet pasta — Pasta that is shaped like the letters of the alphabet is extremely useful for elementary-aged kids, especially those who have trouble with spelling. This way of writing words is more efficient than just using a pen and a piece of paper, simply because letters are no longer abstract to them. Children can actually touch them, and that significantly improves the process of learning new words.
Dough — The benefits of playing with homemade dough are many! Firstly, rolling, twisting and squeezing it strengthens children’s hands. Secondly, it is not harmful to their health, and not to mention that it enhances their creativity and imagination.
Pots and Pans — Smaller children love these for making a lot of noise, pretending to be the most famous drummers. On the other hand, older children love to imitate the world’s famous chefs, by using those pots and pans for ‘real’ cooking. My girls, too, love them, and I sometimes even let them help me with the cooking.
Paper Towel Tube — This cardboard piece is very interesting for children because of its multiple purposes. It can easily become a magic wand or a pirate’s spyglass. You can also provide your kids with duct tape and let them make a castle of these tubes, by taping them closely together.
Blankets — Their favorite warm blankets indeed make the perfect tent, cape or fort, and children love creating their own hideaway. Throwing it over a kitchen table or even a drying rack will make a whole new world where kids can hide and play.
Cardboard Boxes — Boxes of different sizes are something that all of us remember as an ultimate source of fun in childhood. These are appropriate for both boys and girls, since they are equally imaginative and creative. From a race car to a playhouse, the possibilities are infinite!
Floor Rugs — These are very important for children, but not in terms with playing with them, but on them. Many kids’ floor rugs are very educational, such as Zado Rugs, because they depict either letters of the alphabet, or numbers, or even a world map. This is an amazing way of learning, without children even realizing it!
Kitchenware — Wooden spoons and silicone spatulas are basics in every kitchen, and wonderful toys for children at the same time. These even make amusing instruments, and my daughters love combining them with different pots in order to create their own musical show. (Note from Stacey: SO true! This silicon basting brush is one of my toddler’s absolute favorite toys!)
The next time your child reaches for one of your soup pots, let them! Giving children a little freedom to play with household items can actually encourage learning, creative thinking, and help develop both gross motor and fine motor skills. Plus, they’ll have fun! Kids can effortlessly transform any of these into the perfect toy, and play with it for hours.
Related: How Dirt Builds Kids’ Immune Systems
What are your children’s favorite household items to play with?
**Just a note: Never leave children unattended when playing with smaller objects. Please use your own judgement as to what is safe and appropriate for your own children.
About the author:
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing.
She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”
All original photos in the post are the property of the author, used with permission in this post.