Top 10 No-Cost Toys for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
Here's My Top 10 Toy Ideas for Infants!
- Measuring cups and spoons to shake, rattle, and roll
- Plastic containers to stack, fill, and empty
- Washcloth to hide a surprise, wave in the air, or help with cleanup
- Ball of yarn or ball of socks that can go far and do no damage
- Clean 2-liter soda bottle with label off, filled with beads, pebbles, jingle bells, etc., and safely sealed
- Your keys (*to jingle and shake, not to give to baby)
- Disposable-diaper box turned into seat, sled, drum, hiding place
- Upside down pots and pans (best if used with metal measuring cups for really loud rhythm jam sessions)
- Your lap!
And Here's My Top 10 for Toddlers and Preschoolers!
- Empty boxes, large and small
- Bubble wrap for art projects or jumping games
- Rolls of brown packing paper for large art projects
- Paper-towel and wrapping-paper tubes
- Old gift cards, and membership cards as pretend money for shopping
- Cardboard backing from flipchart after paper is used up. Use for puppet theater, store counter, easel, roadmap for toy cars, etc.
- Big bowl of water with a few soapsuds on kitchen floor (with towel) with washcloth, kitchen items, dolls or plastic animals that need a bath
- Roll of masking or cellophane tape. Watch the magic happen!
- Clean, empty plastic food containers (for example, yogurt or margarine tubs) with lids for pretend cooking and bathtime play
- Your lap!
Karen Nemeth is an author, speaker, and consultant on early childhood language development at Language Castle LLC. She wrote Basics of Supporting Dual Language Learners: An Introduction for Educators of Children From Birth Through Age 8. As a mother and grandmother, she has also developed expertise in toy selection. Karen@languagecastle.com