Daily Dupaco

Monday, December 22, 2014

Simple toys fuel the imagination

Shoppers searching for the must-have children’s gifts of the season might be looking too hard.

Simple often wins in the eyes of little ones.

Over the years, I’ve found that the toys with the most staying power at my house are the ones that were never really toys to begin with. The battery-operated gadgets often get passed over for paper towel tubes, empty containers and laundry baskets.

And it’s not just at my house. Last year, my daughter’s 4-year-old kindergarten class returned from winter break to a classroom cleared of every last toy. The kids were given cardboard boxes of all sizes to play with instead. Imagination and creativity soon took over, and the kids became astronauts in their box-like rocket ship, passengers of a cardboard train and occupants of little houses scattered throughout the room. It was one of the most popular units of the school year.

While I’ve never actually wrapped an empty box for a present, I do try to remember to keep things simple during the gift-giving season.

Here are seven ordinary items that my kids have deemed extraordinary:

  • Make a memory/matching game with some index cards and your kids’ stickers that seemingly multiply overnight. Simply put one sticker on the center of each card. Note: Only use stickers that you have at least two of so that each playing card has a match.
  • Empty spice containers are a great addition to any play kitchen. These are often the first ingredients used in our kids’ kitchen. 
  • A (washed) Neti pot is probably the best teapot in the bath tub. All of my kids have tried to claim that gem during bath time.
  • Medicine syringes double as squirt guns in the tub or backyard pool. 
  • A colander makes some pretty awesome rain storms in the bath tub. It also conveniently stores the wet toys. 
  • Keep old Halloween and dance costumes accessible. My kids are constantly raiding the costumes for dress-up play. 
  • Laundry baskets have served as boats navigating treacherous waters, basketball hoops and even tiny houses. If only these baskets would store freshly folded laundry…

By Emily Kittle

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