Archive for October, 2009

My son just turned 12 months old and his toys are becoming boring to him. I am on a quest to find him some more stimulating toys, but I am on a tight budget. Here are some ideas I came across and have worked!

Balls: Any size balls will work. My son loves to play with balls. I place several different size balls in plastic container or a basket. My son likes to take them out, bounce them, and place them in different containers.


  • Stackable bowels was a great idea. I bought some stackable cereal bowels from the dollar store for $2 (6 total). He enjoys stacking and unstacking them. This can keep him entertained a a while.
  • Stackable plastic cups
  • measuring spoons/ cups- he enjoys putting them together and taking them apart
  • Mixing bowels- different sizes and different colors. We already had a set at home. I just let him play with them. Great because it did not cost me a thing.
  • Plastic Tubberwear- The cheap plastic food containers that you throw away worked great as toys. I have a few I have received at Christmas time or when people have given me food. I have given them to my son to play with. He will stack them, try to put on the lids, and throw them about the room. He will even take tiny objects like puzzle pieces, balls, shapes, and plastic sorting items and put them in the plastic containers.

Board Books: My son loves to turn the pages of board books. He loves touch and feel and books with flaps. Buying books can be very expensive, so I have started checking out a bunch of board books from our local library and changing them up every week. This keeps him happy and less bored with the selection because I keep changing up the books weekly. You could also buy cheap board books at garage sale or dollar stores.

Shakers and Sound Makers: I have taken old plastic water bottles and jugs with various materials- beans, rice, colored water, pennies, and small rocks. He likes to shake them and stand them up. It keeps him occupied for a while.

Climbing Obstacles: He loves to crawl over things and crawl under things. I set up pillows on the floor for him to crawl over and make tunnel with blankets for him to crawl under. This keeps him busy for a while.

Create Your Own Piggy Bank: Save the tops of the plastic milk jugs and use them as coins. Then with an old formula container or oatmeal container, cut a hole in the top and use that as the slot to insert the tops from the milk jug.


  • Old Food Boxes as building blocks- You can save a bunch of cereal, cracker, pasta, and other food boxes to use a building blocks. You can just glue or tape the flap shut. You can leave them plain or decorate them with colorful wrapping paper.
  • Big Boxes as forts- You can take a big box and put a door on it or make tunnel to crawl through. Then decorate the outside with paint or markers
  • Put items inside old boxes and let your child take them in and out. You can put balls, milk jug tops, small toys, etc.


  • Photo Albums- Children love to look at picture. You can take an old photo album and put pictures of your family in there. You could also clip pictures from a magazine of bright colorful pictures and put it in there. Pictures of animals are always a hit. You can image on the internet and print them out to put in the photo album.
  • Key Ring Pictures- you can laminate pictures and punch a whole on them and place them on a large key ring. You can also take large index cards and cut and paste different photos from old magazines, internet, or even old books.  You could make a key ring to have a theme. For instance the whole key ring could have things with the color red or the number 3.
  • Poster Board- You can take a large poster board and cover it with various colors, photos, and images. Then hang the poster board at eye level with your toddler where they play.
  • Digital Frame- if you already own one, place it somewhere where you toddler can look at the pictures throughout the day. My son loves to watch slide shows.

Touch & Feel

  • Grab Bag/ Box- with empty bags or boxes, you can put different textured items in the box. Your toddler will enjoy touch and feeling the different items in the box
  • Texture Wall- using a poster board, paste different textures on the poster board. You could use sandpaper, sponge, soft cotton, etc.
  • Touch & feel Book- Create your own touch and feel book. Glue different textured items on a large index card. Then with a large key ring punch whole and connect all the cards together.

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