Using Household Items to Play with Your Kids
As families continue to spend more time at home, and outside activities are more limited, many parents think they need the newest toys and games to entertain their kids and support their development. Don’t overlook the wealth of materials you already have in your home! Many common, everyday household objects can be used to develop play skills, encourage your child’s imagination, and expand speech and language skills.
Here are a few items you can use:
Paper towel and toilet paper rolls can be used as “tunnels” for pushing cars or other toys through, or as a telescope for playing “I spy”. Try taping a few to a wall with painter’s tape to drop items through, or use them in craft projects.
Plastic food containers can be repurposed as a drum, for pouring water in the bathtub, or (with a tight-fitting lid) as a shaker when filled with rice or beans.
Use empty tissue boxes for “mailing” items, or decorate them with a face and “feed” the mouth. Cardboard boxes can be stacked to make towers or walls and larger ones can become houses or vehicles. When my kids were little, two of their favorite places to play were inside an empty kitchen cabinet or in the laundry basket.
Ice cube trays or egg cartons can be used for placing items “in” and “out” or sorting small food items like cheerios and crackers.
A plastic spray bottle filled with water can become a “shower” for toy animals or a “car wash” for toy cars and trucks.
When you are looking around your house for items that can double as toys, keep safety in mind and avoid using items that have small parts that could be swallowed, objects with long strings that could be tangled or wrapped around your child, breakable items, heavy items or things with sharp edges or corners.
You can find more ideas on how to repurpose common household items for play and language development in this article at identifythesigns.org (ASHA).