Giving your child lots of play opportunities is the best way your child will learn during their early years. But young children don’t need fancy toys in order to have fun and play. Ever given your toddler a toy and they ended up playing with the wrapping paper or the box it came in? Little ones will find joy in almost anything!
Have a look at these household items that you can use for your next play time with your little ones.
Boxes are a cheap and easy way to expand your child’s creativity. They can sit in it and pretend it’s a car, plane or bus! Big boxes can be used to build large towers or forts. Boxes can be painted and decorated too. Tissue boxes also make a great ‘post box’ – large plastic lids and other objects can be used for posting (just make sure you are supervising at all times). Tissue boxes can also be crafted into some other wonderful things like robot feet, a guitar or even a treasure chest.
Most households will have many of these lying around. These are great for scooping and pouring. Water, sand, rice, small dry pasta or any other objects that can be filled and emptied easily will work great. Plastic cups can also be used as building blocks or stacking cups. They can also be used as sorting containers.
Little ones will be working on their maths, science, fine and gross motor skills when completing these activities.
Let your child have a bit of fun by throwing soft balls or rolled up socks into the basket. Move the basket further away each time to make it more challenging. Use the laundry basket as a car or boat or let their imagination go and see what fun things they can come up with.
Make homemade shakers with rice, small dried pasta or other objects and give your child different shaped spoons and funnels to fill them up with for even more fun. Or head outside and let your little one fill up their bottles with objects found around their yard, then fill it with water to make their own special ‘nature globe’.
Give your child a wooden spoon and let them have fun banging away! It’s a great way to teach them about rhythm and sounds. They may also want to get into a bit of role-play and have a great time cooking, stirring and mixing ‘food’.
These make wonderful forts and tents! You could even lay them on the floor for an inside picnic.
Babies love whisks! Give them one to play with and watch them be fascinated with it. Tongs can be used to sort objects such as cotton wool balls. Colanders can be used as a threading activity (pipe cleaners or straws work great) and of course, baking racks are wonderful for threading different materials through. All of which are great ways to develop fine motor skills. Water spray bottles are also lots of fun and great for developing hand strength.
As you can see, to encourage lots of imaginative play around the home, parents and caregivers don’t have to look far – little ones can find fun and learning anywhere and the opportunities are endless! What household items does your little one love to play with? Let us know!