One of my Facebook friends is having a “Homemade Christmas” this year. She’s making all kinds of fun items for her three daughters instead of buying lots of toys marketed for the season. This got me thinking about items around the house that make great toys (Thanks Emily!). And I can’t tell you how many parents tell me,
“Emmy has a million toys and doesn’t play with them. What she really likes is my cabinet full of pots and pans.”
Household items that make great toys:
- Empty plastic fish bowl – great for putting small toys or blocks in and out, also encourages drop and release skills
- Tube socks – hide items in them. Work on object permanence (understanding that item still exists although it’s hidden) with young children. Have older children try to guess what you’ve hidden inside and describe what they feel
- Metal bowl and wooden spoon – create noises, work on hand-eye coordination, and target early symbolic play
- Measuring cups – if you don’t have nesting cups, don’t worry! These will do in a pinch. Also, hold the handle and “talk” into the 1 cup size. The slight echo encourages vocal play!
- Plastic bin with lid and dry rice (or dried beans) – make a sensory box. Hide small plastic animals or matchbox cars inside and have your child find them
- Door mirror – don’t hang it on the door, prop it horizontally against the sofa during tummy time so you look in the mirror together
- Locker mirror – place on the refrigerator so you child can pull up and look at themselves. Work on parts of the face while you make a snack (forget during dinner prep…that would just be crazy)
- Old 80’s style sweaters with large buttons – encourage “dress up” and pretend play while working on dressing skills. Your OT will love you!
- Laundry basket – another larger tool for teaching in and out. Ball up those tube socks and take turns tossing them into the basket. This encourages all kinds of early language skills – and your PT will love you!
More ideas? Please share with me in a comment. Dig through those kitchen draws and see what you find!