5 Household items for baby & toddler play!
Babies and toddlers love to play at home with ordinary household items. You might have bought that very expensive toy or playmat, but your baby or toddler loves the laundry basket and the pots and pans. More than ever, in a world of COVID and lock downs, you might find that you have a ready-made toy shop in your own home! Here are 5 suggestions that are free and available, to help you start playing with your baby or toddler, right now:
1) A Mirror – Babies & toddlers love their own reflection and love when you join in too! There is nothing cuter than giggles when Mum, Dad, siblings or carers play peek-a-boo in the mirror. Blowing kisses to each other and sharing attention is wonderful for developing connection. The mirror is also a great way to practice tummy time with younger babies, as well as a great motivator for babies to crawl towards, dance in front of and to reach out for.
2) Mixing bowls – Your baby or toddler can play with mixing bowls on their own or with you. If you have a few different sized bowls, your baby or toddler can learn how they stack on top of one another or fit inside each other or wear the bowl as a hat. You can also fill mixing bowls with a wonderful assortment of entertaining items to assist reaching, grasping, releasing, and transferring skills. Adding some safe utensils in, like a wooden spoon, is bound to start up a fun drumming session. For play together you can assist your baby or toddler to explore different textures and sounds by filling the bowls with dry pasta or an edible filling. Hiding items under the bowls and getting your baby or toddler to lift off the bowls to reveal what is underneath is also a fun game to play.
3) A laundry basket – Great to sit in and play, as well as to be pushed along or pulled, like their own little car. You can also use a laundry basket as an in-and-out container for lots of items, such as balls, toys, blocks, and even balls of socks! The laundry basket is also a great way for babies to practice transitioning from sitting to their hands-and-knees and crawling, as well as practising their reaching skills and for toddlers to practice their throwing and aiming skills.
4) A baby wipes container – You can fill your baby wipes container with a scarf, or a pair of leggings or stockings, or even a clean tea towel for a fun game of pull it out! Be sure to have the end of the material sticking out of the wipes opening so that your baby or toddler can feel the material and practice strengthening their grasp and coordination whilst pulling the item out! If your wipes container seals well, you can also fill it with baby/toddler friendly items to make a big shaker or noise maker. If you don’t have a hard wipes container, you can also substitute with a tissue box.
5) A cardboard box – It’s true what they say, the cardboard box wins every time, even in a room full of toys! Babies and toddlers love crawling through boxes when they are open at either end, or sitting inside them and playing, or you can encourage some pretend play with the box becoming a car, or a plane, or a fruit stall, or anything else fun and creative that comes to mind. A cardboard box is always a great place to play hide and seek or peek-a-boo too.
So next time you consider bringing more toys into your house, take a look around what you already have, and you might be surprised to find you have more play equipment than you think.