Strolling down the toy aisles at your local department store can an exciting adventure for young children. Toddlers and preschoolers fall in love with the magical way toys are displayed with enticing bright colors and sounds from various levers and “push me” buttons. However, did you know that your household items can be just as exciting and just as educational as toys found at the store? The main difference between household items and brand new, shiney toys is YOU. You, the awesome parent you are, can bring everyday items found around your home to life. And this kind of magic doesn’t cost you a thing. If you are excited, if you express a sense of wonder; your children are more likely to want to engage in the same curiousity. Below are a few more ideas for how to turn every at home items into memorable moments of fun.
- Rearrange furniture and drape a bedsheet to make a fort. Fort building is one of my favorite activities to do with my kids, and they are 13, 11, and 9. Sure, they can move all of the furniture and decide which bed sheet to use but what really gets them engaged is when I participate. For most children, the concept of play can be much enjoyable and sustained when a supportive grown-up is involved. And I didn’t even mention yet, all the fun ways to play and stack couch cushions!
- Empty boxes galore! Empty boxes are literally waiting to be filled with play ideas. Boxes can be stacked, filled, drummed on with spoons, etc. They can be spaceships, baby cribs, food trays, just about anything!
- Measuring cups are a great way to experiment if pouring and scooping. Children can begin to learn the concept of seriation (putting them in order), counting, more and less, etc.
- Flash lights. Flash lights can be fun to play with light shadows, eye spy, flashlight tag, and experimenting with concepts of light and dark.
- Coffee filters can easily be colored on with markers. The markers will bleed on the coffee filters. Once the markings have dried, you can tape the filters to the window to watch the sunlight shine through.
- Empty recycled bottles. Empty recycled bottles are wonderful for making shaker maracas. Fill them each with different items like beads, rice, or beans and listen for the different sounds.
- Recipes! With the popularity of homemade slime, chances are you already have the ingredients to make a batch at home. In addition to slime, my family likes to make playdough and oobleck and many of the recipes you can find with simple internet search are nontoxic and may even be edibles. Here are links to some easy slime, playdough, and oobleck that you can make at home with your little ones.
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