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10 Household Items Your Tot Will Love to Play With

You can spend literally thousands of pounds on toys for babies and toddlers but as many parents will tell you, the child often ends up more fascinated with the box than the actual contents. You will also find that your little one will get as much, if not more, benefit for their learning and development, from simple household items as they will from the expensive toy you have just bought.

So before you go shopping, raid your cupboards and you will find no end of items that your little one will not only find fascinating, but will be helping to develop their senses, motor skills, concentration, creativity and more, while saving your pennies, and having to find places to store that toy collection.

To get you started, here are 10 objects you are likely to have in your house right now that your young children would love to play with.

1) Plastic cups

Cups have so many uses when you’re a baby or toddler. Simply filling them with various resources and pouring them out literally creates hours of fun. Some of the items you can use with the cups include water, sand, blocks, cereal, dry pasta or play dough, or they may like to stack or build towers with the cups themselves. When playing with cups children have a great opportunity to practice their fine motor skills, colour recognition and to develop an understanding of space and shape.

2) Kitchen roll tubes

There are lots of craft activities you can do with your child and a kitchen roll tube. You can colour them, chalk them, paint them, and glue colourful craft items on them. You could also use them to hide things inside, post things through, make tunnels, binoculars or musical instruments; simply blowing down one makes a fun sound they will love and will also develop their understanding of tone and pitch from a very early stage.

3) Colander

A colander could be many things with a child’s imagination; for example, a hat, a bath toy or a drum. If you give your child straws or pipe cleaners as well it could also be a fine motor skills activity where you child pokes the straws or pipe cleaners through the colander holes. As an extension for older toddlers you could provide different sized objects and ask your child what objects would fit through the holes and which ones won’t. Use language relating to size and shape to support mathematical and language development.

4) Bottles

Old bottles of any sort will suffice, pop, squash or water. Just make sure they are clean and the label is removed. You can let the children use them as a receptacle when playing with sand or water. Alternatively you can make a musical instrument by filling it half way with small noisy items and taping the lid on firmly. You can also decorate with ribbons and glitter, or make sensory bottles like those below. You can find more ideas on how to make your bottles into fabulous sensory toys come in our Tots Play Families Group on Facebook, so do come and join us there.

5) Cardboard boxes

A cardboard box becomes like a gate way to another reality. Children instinctively know how to play with them. Even little crawlers will find their way inside them somehow. A cardboard box can become a house, a car, a bus, a plane, a boat, a TV, a sofa, a hiding place, a robot, a drum and so much more. The size of the box is irrelevant; big or small, children will find a use! Here are some more adventures with a cardboard box for you to try.

6) Tupperware

A good selection of plastic boxes and lids will provide many different games and will help to develop various skills. Children can fill them, pack them and stack them. As they get a little older they will love to put the lids on and subsequently take them off again!

7) Cutlery

Spoons, whisks, mashers and other various cutlery items are great tools to encourage play. Children like to copy what they see and if you add in pans or the Tupperware then they can start cooking what-ever their imagination can create.

8) Food containers

Giving your children empty food containers that are clean and checked for health hazards, acts as a stimulus for role play. They could be used in a kitchen, a shop, a café or a restaurant. For the younger children model how to role play but take care not to take over their play experience. Children should lead their own play to enable the effective development of their creativity, resilience and confidence.

9) Cleaning tools

Now it goes without saying that children shouldn’t be playing with anything that is dirty or dangerous but there are lots of ways they can “help” you with the cleaning without having to get filthy themselves. Fill a spray bottle with water, give your child some cloths, they will enjoy the responsibility of being your little helper. Letting them sweep up is a challenge in patience at times but they will love the sense that they are helping you.

10) The laundry

As long as you know there isn’t anything too dirty, then children will love the sensory experience that playing with laundry provides. All the different colours and fabrics will fascinate and educate them. Alternatively let your child play with the clean laundry but just make sure it’s your infant that’s clean this time.

Time Vs. Toys

At Tots Play, simple, household items, form the basis of many of the sensory collections we use at our classes, with the same aims in mind, to encourage exploration, problem solving and creativity, as well as providing a place where you and your child can enjoy special time together. We also hope to give you plenty of inspiration to carry on your play times at home.

After all, the truth is that children don’t need huge amounts of money spent on them; the most valuable thing you can give them is your time, so enjoy finding new things to explore at home, and do come and join us for a wide variety of play time fun, with sensory play, music, yoga, massage and signing at a class near you very soon. You can find details of your local classes HERE.


No classes near you yet? Did you know you could run your own? Find out more about how to get started HERE.

Now go and raid those cupboards and, as always, Happy Playing!

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