Author Topic: Toys that aren't toys  (Read 6955 times)

meerkat

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Toys that aren't toys
« on: November 08, 2018, 01:41:27 PM »
There's the old joke that if you get a fancy toy your kid would rather play with the packaging. What kind of things have you been amused to see your kid playing with that weren't meant to be toys?

In our house:
Empty diaper/pull ups boxes stacked up and knocked down or else built into a "wall" with a "window" to peek a boo through.
Various small kitchen things that we don't use because they're small (small pot that's an actual cooking pot, wooden spoon, etc.)
Pruners, with supervision obviously. He doesn't know how they actually work so the safety is on and he just holds it up to the shrubs

reeshau

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2018, 02:31:39 PM »
My son loves to collect the leftover tickets from the transit stations in our city.  It has a lot of trappings of baseball cards or any collectible:  he looks to collect them from each station we go to, so he is excited to go to new stations.  And while most tickets are simply receipts from people recharging their transit cards (these are the "commons") he sometimes finds a "single" or "double," which means someone left their actual ticket in the machine!  He probably has 100 or more, and has not lost excitement for the hobby.

He also occasionally finds some spare change, which we target for giving as found money.

CNM

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2018, 02:46:50 PM »
My kid loves art projects way more than any toy he has.  This goes beyond crayons and paper.  He will collect things like rocks to make into little rock people (usually using a glue gun) or unusually shaped disposable items, like those cone-shaped cups used for water coolers or small paper plates, or neat wrapping paper or ribbons, or any other random item.

BAM

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 09:19:50 AM »
Boxes, of course. Ribbons, string, sticks, rocks, leaves. Almost anything in nature actually - seed pods, flowers, shells. Leftover pieces of wood. Paper. Tape. Dowels - make them into swords and light sabers when they are older.

My older kids make mashoonga's out of PVC, pool noodles and duct tape.
Most of my kids have asked for duct tape in their stockings for years. They've made sheaths for swords, belts, shoes, jackets/vests, etc out of it.

GuitarStv

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 09:29:28 AM »
Snails, ants, and bugs in general.  My son finds them and then tries to make friends by bringing them different things to eat.

katsiki

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2018, 09:45:23 AM »
Ditches and canals

I'm a red panda

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 09:56:24 AM »
Nothing is as good as a dog bone.

littleweedontheprairie

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2018, 07:37:30 PM »
Of course, boxes. Any old container too.
Any kitchen utensil they are allowed to have (so not the knives or grater)- the salad spinner is a favorite. They put toys in it and spin, and it becomes a rocket, a magic washing machine, a time explorer, etc.
The toilet plunger. Toilet brushes are out of bounds (I have my limits haha).
The 2 year old found an old socket set that my husband hadn't put back. It's a real crappy one, so we let him play with it. On occasion they get to play with my tape measure and chalk line (apparently they make. the best "cranes").
Plumbing odds and ends have been a favorite lately. Any old fittings, pipe scraps, etc.
Keys that we don't use anymore.
Suitcases on wheels (they get pushed around a lot).
Brooms and mops (I always try and have a clean dry sweeper on them, so they clean my floors when they play).
Old gutters pieces and empty toilet paper rolls make great tunnels.
The dog's kennel (rarely used by the dog) has been claimed as a castle, space rocket, fire station, etc.
We live out in the country and our place has a lot of "treasures", ie bones, bugs and rocks but also stuff inherited with the place like metal scraps, broken tools, engine parts, leaky buckets, pieces of baling twine, dilapidated horse harnesses, etc. For us parents it's a bit of a hassle to go through and sort (and a bit nerve wracking sometimes as we try and get to the dangerous stuff before they do). For little boys it's hog heaven.

Plugging Along

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2018, 10:54:38 PM »
My kids loved paint chips from the hardware/paint store.   They would collect them, sort them, then sometimes makes crafts it of them.

nessness

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2018, 10:04:52 PM »
My 4-year-old taped a face to a piece of styrofoam packing material the other day and played with her "robot" all morning.

tthree

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2018, 07:04:11 PM »
My kids loved paint chips from the hardware/paint store.   They would collect them, sort them, then sometimes makes crafts it of them.
My daughter too.  The first time we went to the home improvement store and I told her she could take one home without paying she was gobsmacked, "These are FREE!".  Now every time we go she has to bring home multiples.

AMandM

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2018, 09:19:41 AM »
Bubble wrap!  Fun to wave around and even more fun to stomp on!

jessmess

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2018, 11:02:13 AM »
My kids love my coin collection! Those special edition coins that come out. They can spend hours picking out their favorites :)

BZB

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2018, 03:11:08 PM »
making elixirs, magic potions, and poisons out of dirt, twigs, water and other stuff collected in glass jars - and then using my label maker to make labels like "drink up!"

Mongoose

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2018, 08:06:02 AM »
We have a paint chip collection too. They are only allowed one each per trip though per household rules. They love those things. It's so...weird...

Dragonswan

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2018, 11:35:43 AM »
Of course, boxes. Any old container too.
Any kitchen utensil they are allowed to have (so not the knives or grater)- the salad spinner is a favorite. They put toys in it and spin, and it becomes a rocket, a magic washing machine, a time explorer, etc.
The toilet plunger. Toilet brushes are out of bounds (I have my limits haha).
The 2 year old found an old socket set that my husband hadn't put back. It's a real crappy one, so we let him play with it. On occasion they get to play with my tape measure and chalk line (apparently they make. the best "cranes").
Plumbing odds and ends have been a favorite lately. Any old fittings, pipe scraps, etc.
Keys that we don't use anymore.
Suitcases on wheels (they get pushed around a lot).
Brooms and mops (I always try and have a clean dry sweeper on them, so they clean my floors when they play).
Old gutters pieces and empty toilet paper rolls make great tunnels.
The dog's kennel (rarely used by the dog) has been claimed as a castle, space rocket, fire station, etc.
We live out in the country and our place has a lot of "treasures", ie bones, bugs and rocks but also stuff inherited with the place like metal scraps, broken tools, engine parts, leaky buckets, pieces of baling twine, dilapidated horse harnesses, etc. For us parents it's a bit of a hassle to go through and sort (and a bit nerve wracking sometimes as we try and get to the dangerous stuff before they do). For little boys it's hog heaven.

Have they had their Tetnus shot?

TrMama

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2018, 01:12:07 PM »
On a long road trip I once handed my then 3yo the extra tampon I keep in my purse. We'd already run through all the interesting toys I packed for the trip and still had many miles to go. She was fascinated by it. The best part was DH's horrified expression and comments ;-)

10 years later, the best toys are still cardboard boxes. They get made into guinea pig mazes and robot costumes. Fabric scraps become clothes for stuffed animals. She uses the sewing machine to make them.

AMandM

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2018, 03:01:03 PM »
On a long road trip I once handed my then 3yo the extra tampon I keep in my purse. We'd already run through all the interesting toys I packed for the trip and still had many miles to go. She was fascinated by it. The best part was DH's horrified expression and comments ;-)

One of my kids, as a toddler, spent a happy afternoon unwrapping and unfolding sanitary napkins and sticking them to the full-length mirror.

Last week our house was the distribution point for 40 boxes of Christmas greenery from the Boy Scouts fundraiser.  Among the detritus were about a dozen cardboard tubes, like the core of paper towels but thicker and larger in diametre. Since then the 2yo and 3yo grandkids have been having a blast with them. The tubes fit over arms to turn a kid into a robot, they can be balanced on each other and knocked down to cries of "Timberrrr!", they can be whacked against each other as either musical instruments or swords, they can be rolled across floors, they can be stacked like firewood, ....

littleweedontheprairie

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2018, 08:43:22 PM »
Of course, boxes. Any old container too.
Any kitchen utensil they are allowed to have (so not the knives or grater)- the salad spinner is a favorite. They put toys in it and spin, and it becomes a rocket, a magic washing machine, a time explorer, etc.
The toilet plunger. Toilet brushes are out of bounds (I have my limits haha).
The 2 year old found an old socket set that my husband hadn't put back. It's a real crappy one, so we let him play with it. On occasion they get to play with my tape measure and chalk line (apparently they make. the best "cranes").
Plumbing odds and ends have been a favorite lately. Any old fittings, pipe scraps, etc.
Keys that we don't use anymore.
Suitcases on wheels (they get pushed around a lot).
Brooms and mops (I always try and have a clean dry sweeper on them, so they clean my floors when they play).
Old gutters pieces and empty toilet paper rolls make great tunnels.
The dog's kennel (rarely used by the dog) has been claimed as a castle, space rocket, fire station, etc.
We live out in the country and our place has a lot of "treasures", ie bones, bugs and rocks but also stuff inherited with the place like metal scraps, broken tools, engine parts, leaky buckets, pieces of baling twine, dilapidated horse harnesses, etc. For us parents it's a bit of a hassle to go through and sort (and a bit nerve wracking sometimes as we try and get to the dangerous stuff before they do). For little boys it's hog heaven.

Have they had their Tetnus shot?

Oh yes. No major cuts so far, thankfully (knocking on wood), but a couple scrapes went a long way in teaching them to handle stuff carefully.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2018, 10:28:24 AM »
BabySLTD got fifteen silent minutes out of a single sock the other day. His two favourite activities are looking out of the window and taking all his clothes (especially socks!) out of the drawers under his cot. We also keep an empty wipes packet in the bathroom for him to play with while we go to the loo. He's getting a roll of greaseproof paper for Christmas.

gavint

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2019, 12:54:48 PM »
90 L black rectangular bins, I use them for work, but the kids will regularly steal them off the truck and have hours of fun with them.  I've thought about buying them as presents for when my kids get invited to birthday parties - would love to see the expression on the other kid's parent's faces!



 

BlueHouse

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2019, 12:41:30 PM »
My nephew's favorite "toy" when he was a toddler was a thick piece of rope (about 5 feet long) with some kind of cap at the end (looked like a giant electrical cap).  His dad made it for him and it was very clearly a "firefighter hose".  He took that thing EVERYWHERE.  Played with it everywhere.  It wasn't hard to pack and didn't take a lot of room.

In the summer, he used the regular hose out back.

meerkat

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2019, 12:58:33 PM »
Current favorite toy: a bright red shoestring.

So far it's been a snake, a fire hose, a jump rope (flail string while holding onto each end and jumping), and this morning it was a raccoon.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2019, 12:08:24 AM »
We have acquired Friend Bottle. It's... A plastic bottle. Also, what small boy wouldn't be fascinated by a pac k of sanitary towels? I can have twenty minute showers while he carefully attempts to extract them from the packet.

FLBiker

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2019, 07:27:28 AM »
The best one recently was a large piece of mulch that my 3 yo brought home from her school, tucked into her waistband, that was her phone.  She brought it back to school the next day, and on our way in we stopped so she could use it to take a picture of a flower (which she dutifully showed me). :)

This morning, she had a hanky tucked in her waist band and as I watched her use it she said "it's not my mulch phone." :)

BeanCounter

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2019, 07:44:49 AM »
My oldest (now 10) has always loved to dig holes. Give him a spot to dig and a shovel and he'll go at it for hours. It's weird.

Fishindude

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2019, 07:51:29 AM »
When my son was maybe 5-7 and wife would take off to go somewhere, I could do my thing in the shop and keep him entertained for a long time pounding nails into boards with a hammer.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2019, 08:11:14 AM »
C. just loves anything that is helping. Pull up a stool and "help" wash dishes for 20 minutes.  Carry the laundry to the machine, put it in, and then get to beep the dial- amazing. Push the vaccuum with Mommy- great; use the swiffer while I mop, joyful.

She also really loves to wash her hands. A bit of water in the sink and a wash cloth can also eat 15 minutes of time.


meerkat

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2019, 08:51:44 AM »
The hit toy of the weekend was a spare filo folder we had laying around. It had a lid and a stretchy cord that keeps the lid closed. Did you know it can hold drawings?? And crayons?? And it can be opened and closed and opened and closed and dump everything out and put (almost) everything back in?

Gremlin

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2019, 10:01:02 PM »
C. just loves anything that is helping. Pull up a stool and "help" wash dishes for 20 minutes.  Carry the laundry to the machine, put it in, and then get to beep the dial- amazing. Push the vaccuum with Mommy- great; use the swiffer while I mop, joyful.

She also really loves to wash her hands. A bit of water in the sink and a wash cloth can also eat 15 minutes of time.

When Little Miss Gremlin was a little littler... umm, er... she used to LOVE the vacuum cleaner and would beg us to be able to vacuum something - usually the car interior.  On more than one occasion I heard Mrs Gremlin offer to Little Miss Gremlin that if she mopped the kitchen floor then she'd be allowed to vacuum out the car.  Sadly Little Miss G no longer falls for that one!

Jim Fiction

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2019, 07:01:38 AM »
Our little one loves the plastic baby wipes container. Also tags, she will flip over stuffed animals and the like to get to the tag and then go to town on it.

Aelias

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2019, 12:10:07 PM »
We have a friend who's a woodworker and gave us a box of scrap to burn in our stove as kindling.

Well, now these "blocks" have become treasured toys and I'm not sure we'll be able to burn them after all.

#mustachianpeopleproblems

CloserToFree

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2019, 12:39:10 PM »
Love this thread. For us it's been the salad spinner! The source of endless hours of entertainment when our older son was a baby and toddler, and soon our youngest will discover its joys. :-)

chaskavitch

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2019, 12:42:35 PM »
Love this thread. For us it's been the salad spinner! The source of endless hours of entertainment when our older son was a baby and toddler, and soon our youngest will discover its joys. :-)

Our son loves our salad spinner too.  He puts his blocks or cars or whatever he wants in it, then spins them around forEVER.  He's started spinning our actual salad, too, which is helpful :)  We get dried lettuce AND he's entertained for a good 15 minutes while we cook dinner.

Gremlin

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2019, 10:11:22 PM »
Love this thread. For us it's been the salad spinner! The source of endless hours of entertainment when our older son was a baby and toddler, and soon our youngest will discover its joys. :-)

Our son loves our salad spinner too.  He puts his blocks or cars or whatever he wants in it, then spins them around forEVER.  He's started spinning our actual salad, too, which is helpful :)  We get dried lettuce AND he's entertained for a good 15 minutes while we cook dinner.

I must admit...

Even at 40 I sometimes spin the salad quite a bit more than is necessary because... well... it's spinny...  round and round and round and spinny and round....  Wheee!!!

MrsDinero

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2019, 09:19:16 AM »
Snails, ants, and bugs in general.  My son finds them and then tries to make friends by bringing them different things to eat.

I love this so much!  I have a feeling this will be my son, this summer time

meerkat

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2019, 07:52:40 AM »
One of kiddo's favorite books right now is an old recipe book from my MIL's ridiculously large stash of cookbooks. It's all about jello. It has lots of high color pictures and it is early 70's fabulous. The recipes are all horrid (because jello does not need to be an appetizer, main course, side dish, and dessert) but that just adds to the comedy value for the grown ups.

BTDretire

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2019, 07:23:42 PM »
Of course, boxes. Any old container too.
snip

As a kid I remember two of us in a large box driving it forward with our hands like bulldozer track, through my yard and down the hill of my neighbors yard.

Just Joe

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2019, 09:56:43 AM »
Large box tied to a wagon = RV. Lots of possible details via crayons, markers and an adult to cut out door and window flaps.

For us that toy would last a whole week or more.

ericrugiero

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2019, 07:36:01 AM »
Rocks and sticks

Kmp2

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2019, 08:39:00 PM »
My brother had a bottle cap collection in an ice cream bucket - I remember taking it camping across the country with us, and using it to do everything from trap ants in a maze, to building cities, to building race tracks for hot wheels...

My son is currently playing with paper flyers (he's 1), we also have 'loose parts' in the backyard, some old 1x8's, logs, ropes, buckets - we are thinking of adding nails and a hammer for my 6 year old. The kids have made obstacle courses, ramps for their bikes, jumps for their bikes, fences etc.

DadJokes

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Re: Toys that aren't toys
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2019, 12:20:42 PM »
My wife keeps toys in her car for our 5 month boy to play with during car rides. I had to pick him up yesterday and have no such toys, so I put my hat in the seat with him. He chewed on it the entire way home, and the bill is still wet.