We typically get a lot of toys as gifts from people—which is AWESOME!
However, Charlie doesn’t always want to play with toys, but with things that look more “grown-up”. The older she got, she started wanting more interactive toys and games.
Since we don’t want to spend too much money on stuff, I started going to dollar stores and clearance sections to find things for her.
Also, thrift stores are awesome for this kind of stuff!
**I am not paid for advertisements—any products I suggest are ones that I actually approve of from my own purchases and experiences.**
1) Magnifying glass/handheld mirrors:
-On the opposite side of the mirror, I printed out pictures of chldren displaying different emotions (sad, happy, angry). That way, they can refer to these examples, and then practice them in the mirror, while you keep repeating the words and your own facial expressions.
2) I bought a bag of those little cotton pompoms.
-They are great for color learning!
-Cut holes in a box and stick them through.
-Tape shut one end to a paper towel roll and let baby fill it up and pour out into a bowl.
-OR: Use them for #3 in my "Indoor Activities for the low-budget Crafty Mama" post!
3) Ball of Yarn/cooking string/hemp:
-I just used that ball of cooking string that I had in my kitchen. My step-dad tied it off so it wouldn’t unwind. It had just enough string so that I could swing it to Charlie and she could practice her catching.
-We also used it as a game of follow the leader (I had one end and she had the other and we’d pull each other around the house, just giggling our faces off).
-String is always handy to have in the house anyway!
Related Post: "15 Indoor Activities for the Low-Budget, Crafty Mama"
4) Blue Tape:
-Make shapes with the tape on your floor. Maybe do a triangle and square.
-Walk around the house or yard and find things that are these shapes and place them into the corresponding blue tape shapes.
-I’ll make numbers on the walls out of the tape (sometimes letters).
-We will run and play and point them out. Under the numbers, I will have cups with however many objects the number is.
-Char is obsessed with anything that sticks to stuff. Sticker books, garage sale pricing stickers, sticky notes, or those weird gelatin-like window stickies you can buy at dollar/art stores.
-The sticker books help with learning objects and animals, while the other ones help with shapes and colors.
-We will also stick them all over each other. This can help with teaching them about body parts. “Oh! Here’s a blue sticker for your right arm!"
6) Hooks and Hair ties:
-I bought some plastic hooks at the dollar store.
-Then I gave Charlie a handful of colored hair ties to place on them. She got to practice motor skills and learn colors.
-You can also put the hair ties on so many other things!Or put other things on the hooks: cooking utensils that have holes in them; plastic hangers; bags; really anything with a loop!
Related Post: "21 At-Home Outdoor Activities for 1-2 year-olds"
7) Pipe cleaners:
-Weave through a colander, stick into a water bottle.
-Motor skills, color learning, and textures.
-I’d buy different sets of fridge magnets for her that I’d find on Amazon. Great activity for while Mama is cooking!
-I also purchased little magnetic containers so she could put things into them.
-Or even a separate sheet of metal for her to carry around and stick the magnets on!
-My Aunt got this gift from Amazon that was a collection of plastic cups and bowls. They come in all different colors.
-Charlie is still obsessed with playing with them at 22 months!
-Perfect not just for food/drink storage, but baby also gets to play while learning colors, as well as motor skills.
-They are also microwavable and dishwasher-able! Better yet, it even comes in a plastic zipper bag that’s great for storage, zipper learning, and playing.
10) Ice tray
-This is a great tool for little ones and to have for us!
-We used it to make these apple cider jello shots for us to eat daily.
-But then it became a fun way for her to eat things that she never found much interest in. Put snack, fruit, or cut up meal bites for your little one to play and eat at the same time!
11) Paper bags:
-Put different colors on them. and then grab toys for the to sort them into according to color.
-I bought one of those sticker chalkboards that come as huge roll. I put one in my kitchen so I could write a list of things to make and buy. Here's one on Amazon!
-I left a space at the bottom for Charlie to scribble on.
-Fun for her, productive for me, and easy to clean, too!
-We’ve always had one in our home to write cute little notes on. rest for motivational quotes, The Office sayings to make you laugh, or silly hangman games.
-Now, for Charlie we take it down and let her draw all over it.
-Or we will use it for practicing the alphabet.I recommend doing it on tile so it’s easy to wipe up!
-Great for the younger ones who are obsessed with discovering textures!
-I found a bunch of rolls of ribbons in the clearance section at Michael’s. I tied several strands to a hair tie and she got a huge kick out of it!