Sunday, May 31, 2009

Who Needs Fancy Toys When You Have a Cardboard Box?

I was at the playground today with my friend and fellow mom, Gry. As our children ran loose, I was telling her that I was passing by a toy store the other day and I was tempted to go in, but I didn't.

First I'll tell you why I was tempted to go in. I have been substitute teaching a lot lately, and thus have had less time to spend with my son. I thought I could go into the toy store, pick out something shiny and new, come home and say to him "look what mommy got just for you?"

Now I'll tell you the reasons why I stopped myself.

Reason # 1 - I thought to myself "He has so many toys at home, does he really need more?"
Reason# 2 - I remembered past incidents where I had purchased a toy for him and he would ignore the actual toy and play with the box.
Reason # 3- I tried to figure out why I had this sudden urge to buy a shiny new toy for my son since he has so many at home. I realized that I felt guilty for not being around as much and reasoned that if I got him a new toy this would make up for not being present in his life as much. When I realized that this was my motivation, I knew that I could not go through with it.

In the end I chose to walk by the toy store and come home empty handed.

But I would like to focus on Reason # 2 for a a moment. The truth is, babies are very easily entertained, contrary to popular belief. Depending on the age of your child, you have the relevant household item that will keep them busy for a while.

Here is a list of common household items that babies love to play with
--Keys - Only standard metal keys will do. They know the difference between fake keys and real ones. You are not fooling anyone with the plastic ones, so don't even try.
--A cardboard box - They love them. They love to put things in them and take them out again. Or (if they aren't old enough for that yet) they can just feel the texture of the box.
Pots, Pans and Large Plastic and Metal Serving Spoons - These always make for a lot of fun. Can be a bit noisy, but they work.
Mirrors-- Take your baby into the bathroom or any other place in the house that has a mirror. They love looking at themselves and at you!
The Window-- Although not a household item per say, it is an instant fix when my son is screaming his head off, I take him up to the window and have him look outside. For the most part, he stops crying. Babies love looking outside.
--Paper-- Newspaper, magazines, wrapping paper, or just an old bill you don't care about. Babies love to play with paper. And it makes fun sounds when you crinkle it.

Anyway, you get the point. You don't need to go to the toy store when you have ready made entertainment in your own house!


  1. Well said! I love it! Ari even has his own little office!

  2. He does have his own office. His secretary has been out for a while now!

  3. Ah memories. I remember when we made a tv box playhouse for you guys covered with kid-fun=friendly magazine photos. Then we shellacked it. It was so cute and fun to crawl in and out of. Not me but you guys.

  4. That sounds really fun! I wish I had a memory of it. But there were always art supplies involved at West 87th Street, I must say. Dara reminded me of our old converted office space in my bedroom that housed great creative supplies.


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