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|
|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)|
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:
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:
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?
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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