Vasanti is a mom to a 1 and 1/2 year old boy. Her son, Anshu, is now in that wonderful stage , toddlerhood. His personality is changing each day and so are his interests. One big expense for Vasanti is toys for him. She has realized that Anshu does not like playing with a toy for more than a day or two. There might be a couple of favorites but most get relegated to whatever when he goes in search of newer and greener pastures.
She realized that her baby loved playing with household stuff and she could easily turn things available at home to something he could play with and forget the next day, without her feeling the pain of money spent on that toy.
Here we have a look at some of her creative twists to every day stuff ,which is easy on her pocket as well as eco-friendly.
All babies love making noise and love rattles. However they get bored with same rattles day in and day out. Give them something new and it keeps them busy for a long time.
What Vasanti does, is keep small colourful plastic bottles in different shapes. It can be any bottle or box as long as it is safe to hold and light with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure there are no sharp edges etc. Fill the bottle with anything that makes noise, few bells, kidney beans(rajma), chickpeas(chana) etc. Close the lid tightly or maybe tape it. There you go, a shining new rattle is ready for your baby.
Vasanti never leaves Anshu alone while he is playing.
Making bubbles is a favourite with toddlers. You can do this in baby’s bath and make bath more fun for no money at all.
Take a colourful, safe, plastic bowl.
Fill it up with soap water.
Take a straw. Dip it in soap water and blow air to make bubbles.
This is too simple. Just give your toddlers containers of all sizes and s/he will just know how to stack them up. She might even surprise you with some innovative use, which you never thought of. Bottle caps can make great stacking cups. ensure they are big enough , so that they are not choking hazards.
Bowls and spoons
Babies love spoons. Give them safe plastic ones to play with. Baby’s own spoons which are not used anymore or ones from the cereal boxes which you are bound to have plenty. Give them a bowl and you have a versatile toy which you baby can even use for role-play. Make food, feed doll or just make noise.
Those wooden spatulas you bought because they looked so great, but didn’t really get around to using them or even the ones you use ,can make great playthings for your baby. Ensure they are light and not broken at edges etc.
A small piece of wool or string goes a long way
A six inch piece of wool or a string can keep your baby busy for a long time. Ensure the string is not too long, as baby might get stuck in it.
Bottles in various sizes and colors
Babies love to play with bottles especially if they colourful. You can give them any bottle and they will figure how to play with it, bang them turn in their hands. Put some dried beans in it and it becomes a rattle too.
Boxes with lids
My baby loves to open and close lids. Anything from a Tupperware container to en empty, clean shampoo bottle with a cap or a water jug with a lid can arrest her interest . It also helps her in building hand-eye co-ordination.
Babies love mirrors and they love interacting with the other baby inside. You do not have to invest in a mirror just for your baby. What Vasanti did was to place her crib in such a way that one part of the crib faces the dressing table in the bedroom and that corner is Anshu’s favourite. He spends a long time talking to and smiling at the mirror.
Recycle Old clothes
Vasanti loves doing creative stuff herself and she loves recycling old stuff. You can also convert yours and baby’s old clothes (which you didn’t know what to do with) into beautiful soft toys. Even if it does not have the perfect shape , your baby will love it. Easiest to do are balls and cubes stuffed with old clothes. These are soft, washable and perfectly safe.
An old newspaper page
Babies love imitating older people and reading newspaper is a favorite.Give an old newspaper page or a classified and see your baby explore it. At the end of it, it will be torn to shreds and that’s okay. You can also make a glider or a boat out of newspaper and give to your toddler.A boat will make a wonderful bath-toy.
A Kitchen towel tube
A kitchen towel tube after it is used can form a great play thing. Watch your baby bang it, use it as a loud-speaker, wrap it in clothes.
Anshu loves remotes. Vasanti gives him an old one with batteries taken out. She ensures it has been cleaned well. She uses a santizer and cotton to clean it well before giving to baby.
Make Pull toys from old cartons
Any big carton, e.g. a cornflakes box or a cereal box can be converted to a great pull-toy. Vasanti just ties a piece of string to it and Anshu loves dragging it around with him the whole day. Best part, you can just replace the box with a new one next day. If you are feeling extra creative, you can cover it with wrapping paper and draw some eyes and whiskers or put a couple of wheels from an old broken car or wheels made from cardboard.
P.S. You can even ask your toddler to color it with her crayons. See the look of pride in her eyes when she completes.
Vasanti loves making puzzles. They are very easy to make at home.
- Take an old cereal box with some cartoon character on it.
- Cut the side where the picture is on.
- Toughen it up a bit by gluing some plain paper on the back-side of the picture.
- Cut it into geometrical shapes. Depending on your baby’s age, you can make pieces big or small.
- E.g. for a 2 year old baby just cut it into 3-4 pieces, so it can be put together easily.
- For an older child, you can divide into 6-8 pieces and so on.
P.S. Babies should never be left unattended while playing.