10 Thrifty Toys for a 10-Month-Old

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Disclaimer:  We do not let Gv play with these toys unattended and I am not making any claims about the safety of these ideas.  Use your best judgement when searching your own house for cheap baby playthings.

G and I really enjoy watching Gv explore the house and we try our best to allow her every opportunity to explore pretty much anything within reason.  Sometimes we have to put an end to her fun, like when her safety (or the safety of our stuff) is in danger:
Gv really gets this bike rocking, putting herself - and my fancy schmancy bike - in danger

Sometimes we allow her to continue to work on a "project," even though we're not thrilled with her latest "toy:"
She loves to pull the CDs off the shelf - it hasn't seemed to damage the CDs too badly, so we let her do it. (Note the top-10-toy clementine box in the foreground, as well as an unmentioned pillowcase toy at her feet)

Watching Gv explore often gives us ideas of around-the-house objects we could offer her as toys.  Quite often, these items become her favorite things to play with.  Here are ten of her current treasures, all of which were FREE:

1. An old tissue box stuffed with brightly colored fabric:

She will pull these juggling scarves out of this box as often as I'm willing to stuff them back in.  It's not just the pulling-out motion that she loves, either.  She'll yank and pull and twist those things for a good 10-15 minutes after she gets them out.

2.  An empty plastic snack bag: 

We don't even eat stuff like this, but were visiting family over the holidays and asked if we could make good use of their bag when the pretzels were gone.  She love crumpling this bag best.

3.  An empty 2 liter bottle:

Another holiday score - we don't drink soda, either, but snagged this empty bottle after an extended family Christmas gathering.  This toy has many uses - blowing into the opening, squeezing the middle, using it to bop things with.

4.   An empty cardboard clementine crate:

Now these, we all eat.  Gv will spend hours (not all at once) putting things in and out of this box, as well as pushing it all around the room like a car.

5.  A length of cable:

We've been in the process of relocating our television for some time and have had to keep Gv from yanking on various cords and cables throughout the process.  G found an old cable and worked some tape magic on the connector ends, to protect Gv from possible pokes.  Now she can yank and pull all she wants.

6.  An empty box:

The classic box-is-just-as-exciting-as-the-Christmas-gift situation.  Thanks to Grammy and Grandpa, Gv not only has an adorable doll, but a fantastic first drum (the plastic portion makes a particularly satisfying sound when tapped).

7.  An old magazine:

We don't actually pay for any magazine subscriptions, but our local supermarket sends out an extremely colorful quarterly magazine, which Gv enjoys flipping through, tearing, and crumpling.

8.  A ruined CD:

I hate when I'm burning a CD and something goes wrong, which wastes the CD.  Since Gv loves pulling the CDs off the shelf so much, we gave her her own to twirl.

9.  An old container for shaker cheese filled with small blocks:

This item has actually been upcycled twice - we bought the container of cheese years ago just so we'd have the container for other cheese.  It came to the end of its food life, and is now filled with small blocks for the perfect toy.  You could even fill this with smaller items, just maybe glue the cover on so it doesn't come off and pose a choking hazard.

10.  A plastic mixing bowl filled with plastic spoons:

We keep this in a cabinet that she likes to open and explore.  It will captivate her for the entire time it takes me to make dinner.  Note the flurry of movement with her handful of spoons in the photo.

Want to discover your own thrifty toy ideas?  Just watch your child.  See what he or she enjoys messing around with and then adapt something from around the house to create your own version.  

Anytime you're about to throw something out because it's no longer working (like remotes to broken electronics - just remove the batteries first) or anytime you empty a container, ask yourself whether it could find a second life as a FREE toy.  

Who knows what treasure will be discovered around the house next?
This is one of our baby wraps, which Gv loves to pull down and flop around.  (Notice all the movement in the photo)  She will do the same thing with any sized towel, so I'm planning to go through some of our old ones to find some that can be dedicated to her for play.

Besides this list, I've written two other posts with great toy ideas.  Check out month 13 here and then explore month 20 here.

Do you have any great toy ideas to share?  A huge winner, or even an idea that flopped?  I'd love to hear about your experiences!  Leave a comment here, or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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