Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Favorite Non-Toys

My girls are surrounded by generous friends and family. Every birthday is a celebration; every Christmas an event (and we somehow manage to stretch it out for at least a week). This adds up to toys, lots of toys. The girls are good to help me sort through things and donate or sell some of the excess.

I really don't mind the toys as long as they're being played with and put away properly. (In a middle of the night trip down the hall to get the baby I mind a misplaced Lego VERY much!)

Despite this abundance of toys, there are a few non-toy items that can keep them busy playing for a long time. The best thing about this list is there are no required batteries and any assembly is done by the kids.
1. Cardboard boxes, any size. The big ones have been play houses, boats, airplanes and many other things. The small ones are tables, storage, costumes, hats, and who knows what else.

2. Paper tubes from towels, toilet paper, or wrapping paper. Telescopes, binoculars, microphones, periscopes...I could go on.

3. An old check book or bank register. Playing with these items always involves a faux-British accent. "Let me just write you a check for that, dahling."

4. A bucket and a shovel. It's a toss-up whether moles or our girls have done more damage to our yard. {wink}
5. A water hose. A sprinkler is good, a slip 'n slide even better, an inflatable pool much appreciated. But a simple squirt with the water hose will also suffice.

6. A blanket or quilt: tents, picnics, dresses, or just for rolling up "snug as a bug" (and then unrolling as quickly as possible).

7. Water. Have you ever seen children "paint" a blacktop driveway with water? A chalkboard will also work. Give them a bowl of water and paintbrushes and let them get to it. (If they finish the driveway, tell 'em to get your car next!)

8. A creek. If you want to get your children to play outside, you're going to need a water source. The ocean is amazing, a lake is great, but a trickling stream will do just as well. Bonus if there are fish in the water.
9. A ball. OK, yes, this could technically be considered a toy. But any type of ball will do, it needn't be something special or expensive. The girls invent their own games (some of which seem a lot like "Calvinball", a la Calvin & Hobbes).

10. A rope or some string. Yes, do be careful that your children do not tie it around their own (or their sister's) little necks. Once you've got that all clear, you won't believe how many things a kid can do with a rope: they'll tie it into knots, they'll use it like a jump rope, they'll walk on it like a tightrope (on the ground! you must insist it be on the ground unless you want to see your child attempting to walk between two trees), they'll pull on it, they'll tie it to a tree (I have no idea why). A purchased jump rope will do in a pinch.

I know I missed some things. What sort of non-toys did you or your children play with for hours?
This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday.


Pastor David Pitman said...

Empty boxes. Got it (future birthday gifts)

P.S. Wilson!!!

ICStarzz said...

I love how none of these involve technology. What an awesome post to get families closer!


atlibertytodiscuss said...

When I was a very small child, I had an imaginary dog which was represented by an old rope that I drug around with me EVERYWHERE. I will never forget the day I lost it and my parents and sister were out in the yard looking for it and "calling" my lost "dog." Our neighbors heard and thought we had lost a real animal so they came out and began calling, too. My parents laughed hysterically and told that story for many years.

Now, I encourage my own children to be just as imaginative. When you can get the adults to play along, it's even better! :)

Mama Bear said...

Straws! For some reason, my middle daughter loves to play with straws! She will tie them and poke them and pinch them into any type of something that she wants. That and seeds. Both of the younger ones love to go into the yard or garden and collect and sort seeds.

Great ideas for non-toy toys!

Caroline said...

Great list! My son's favorite toys are the ones that don't make sounds, too. Even simple purchased toys (like blocks, stacking cups, and BOOKS! etc.) are the ones that are the most used.

Julie Munroe said...

Large Tupperware bowls. My nephews used to clear out my tupperware cabinets, play inside the cabinets (no child proof locks on this one), and then have a drum session on the bottom of the bowls once the cabinet adventure was over. Children are incredibly inventive.

Tricia said...

My kids will play for hours outside with a squirt water bottle. Spraying the plants, the driveway, and each other! Thanks for the other great ideas. Visiting from Top 10.

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