On a budget and looking for ways to save money whilst still having fun? Here are some baby and toddler play ideas that will cost you nothing, and help with development and learning.
Looking for some fun ideas for your child that won’t cost a fortune? Then put your credit card away, because we’ve found some great play ideas that will cost you nothing but a little time.
Get a muffin tin and groups of seashells, corks, cotton reels and other objects (make sure they’re too big for your baby to swallow). Show your baby how to sort the same types of objects into their own cups. As she gets older, make it more sophisticated in terms of sorting and matching, grouping items by colour and shape.
Help your child to paint uncooked macaroni or rigatoni in pretty colours. When they’re dry, your little one can thread the pasta pieces on to cotton or wool to make a necklace. If you have no pasta handy, you can use cut-up drinking straws instead.
Large cardboard boxes can be turned into fantasy castles, boats, cars, houses and furniture. Make a den with an old sheet suspended over chairs or a table and held in place with clothes pegs. Fill a large box with old shoes, scarves, hats, nighties and so on, which are more versatile than shop-bought costumes, and let her imagination run riot.
Put a sock over your child’s hand and create a mouth by tucking in a portion between her thumb and palm. Stick on buttons for eyes, a piece of red felt for a tongue and wool for hair.
Collect empty cereal packets, egg boxes, yogurt pots, margarine cartons, old wooden spoons, loo rolls, corks, string and so on. Then provide lots of PVA glue and allow your child to build whatever her imagination dreams up. The possibilities are endless.
“I found the idea for an alphabet book in a leaflet about teaching kids to read. Allow a page for each letter in a scrapbook. Using rounded scissors, help your child to cut out and paste magazine pictures of objects that begin with each letter. It’s great for pre-schoolers, and helps develop letter recognition and manual dexterity. It keeps them entertained, and helps them with reading.”
Remy, 34, mum to twins Jack and Emily, 3
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