Sometimes the best toys are the ones we already own. Read on for a few of our favorite ways our boys turn everyday items into great toys.
While making dinner one night, my younger son pulled out his miniature toolset in search of a project. He asked me to help him gather supplies to build something.
Not wanting to deter his curiosity but also hoping not to burn dinner, I dug out a very old laptop that no longer worked and encouraged him to deconstruct it. He loved the project! He left and returned to it several times over the next few days, and his brother even joined him on some occasions.
When my boys get bored, it’s easy to rush and purchase a new toy to fill the void. The latest gadget is shiny and all the rage. But more often than not, my kids only use it a few times before setting it aside in search of something new.
Furthermore, many toys are made of plastic, a derivative of oil, and manufactured by workers earning low wages in poor working conditions. Old toys ultimately languish in landfills for centuries, and replacement promotes more extraction of fossil fuels from our precious planet.
While it’s easy to let the wail from a child drown out the realization that our purchases impact people and environments all over the world, I try to remember that the best toys are often hiding in our homes and communities already. I just need to see things differently.
That night during dinner preparation, my old computer became a wonderful science project. When our boys were young, kitchen spoons and bowls were the best bath toys. Sheets and blankets make epic forts. Cardboard is magical. And anything can be turned into an obstacle course or playground.
Even if we do feel the need to bring something new into our homes (there’s a time and place), secondhand shops are filled with great puzzles, games, and toys. Community gifting groups, like Buy Nothing groups, abound with unique toys for kids. Ask around in your local sharing economy groups for what you want, and you most likely will receive.
Before bouncing to the big box store to add another toy to our family’s toy box, we’ll always check our closets and swap with neighbors to see what we already have. By deconstructing my laptop, my little guy not only found a wonderful educational toy but also ensured my personal data stored on it stayed secure (i.e. broken beyond oblivion). Making the most of the things we already have is a win all around!