Sometimes the best toys are the everyday items that already live in your home. With a little imagination, the simplest of items can provide hours of entertainment.
Here are some of my favourite play ideas, best suited for 6 months and up.
1. Mirror Play
Sing ‘Heads & Shoulders, Knees & Toes’ with accompanying actions, first on you, and then on your baby.
Play peek-a-boo, popping your face in and out of the mirror frame.
Allow baby to explore their own reflection.
2. Mixing Bowl Drums
This one’s fairly self explanatory. Pull out all the pots and pans for a full drum kit, and/or give baby a mixture of drum sticks to use, i.e. wooden spoon, metal spoon, plastic spatula.
It gets pretty noisy, so I wouldn’t be trying this one out when you need a quiet moment.
We now have a mixing bowl permanently in the toy box. Miss E has discovered she can put things in it and tip them out, and that if she drags it around on the ground or kicks it, it makes cool noises too.
This one’s an absolute hit! Until it pops, then it might be scary. Unless you’re Miss E, who’s not fussed by a popping balloon at all!
Balloons are great for tapping back and forth. They move slowly, allowing baby more time to get their hands in place to catch it, and if they miss and it plonks them in the face, no tears!
Also, lots of fun for Mum and Dad making hair staticky 🙂
Just be prepared to get in there quick and grab the popped balloon before it’s shoved in the mouth. We learned that lesson with our dog…
Playing with ice is an interesting sensory experience for baby.
We tried this out in the middle of winter, so I covered Miss E’s lap with a burp cloth to keep her dry and then let her go for it.
Add some food colouring to your water before you freeze it for added interest.
5. Gel Bag
Grab a sealable sandwich bag, tip in some cheap hair gel and a few interesting objects (I used foam shapes and beads). Then seal it up. If you’re paranoid about hair gel going everywhere like I am, double bag it.
To stop it sliding around on your highchair tray you could either tape the sides down, or as I did, put a few drops of water on the tray to make the bag stick. As soon as Miss E starts picking the bag up and trying to put it in her mouth, it’s game over for us.
6. Muffin Tray
Put a collection of balls, blocks, cars, toy animals or whatever you’ve got at hand in a muffin tray, and let them at it.
Baby will have fun tipping everything out, putting it back in and in Miss E’s case, kicking it repeatedly to make rattling sounds.
7. Laundry Basket Ball Pit
Again, pretty self explanatory.
I find that Miss E often gets frustrated with her balls because they always roll away out of her reach. By containing all the balls (and the baby) in the laundry basket, all the balls are close at hand and fun to explore.
Be mindful of the sturdiness of your basket. Mine is pretty rigid, but I was concerned that if Miss E leaned back into it, she’d tip the basket, herself and all the balls over onto the floor in a spectacular fashion. So I pushed the end she was sitting at, up against the side of my couch.
Also be wary of any small holes in your basket, that little fingers, arms or legs might get stuck in.
Who needs real toys?!?!
What other everyday items does your baby like to play with?