Parents on a budget should not worry about buying expensive toys. Children learn just as well — and maybe even better — when they play with household items and simple toys. The trick is to see things “through a child’s eyes.”
Don’t throw away empty paper towel tubes. Four-year-olds love to look and talk through them.
A stack of discarded envelopes can be just the thing for playing “office.” And an old purse may be ideal for toting a child’s treasures.
Children love to use paint, crayons, pencils, and chalk to scribble or practice drawing. Cookie dough and clay are great for making sculptures, letters, and shapes.
Other free or inexpensive things that children love to play and learn with include:
• Aluminum pie tins
• Wooden spoons
• Balls of all sizes (except those small enough to swallow)
• Measuring spoons and cups
• Blocks that stack or fit together
• Plastic dishes
• Old clothes for dress-up
• And boxes galore.
Children can play with simple toys in many ways. The best part is that there’s no one right way.
Exploring different ways to play with a toy helps children be creative and solve problems. These are useful skills for school success.