4 Terrific Toys from Around the House

Help your toddler's natural proclivity toward exploration with simple household items and toys.




  1. Drum and Rattle: Empty plastic containers, pots, and buckets make great makeshift drums. Give your baby a plastic and/or wooden spoon, and she'll enjoy discovering how she can create different sounds by using her hands, the spoons, and each container. Or put some old keys in a clean jar, small container, or Tupperware and let her enjoy shaking it up!
  2. Balance, Stack, and Build: Plastic measuring cups and drinking glasses are great fun to stack and put together. Empty cereal boxes, shoeboxes, and cardboard tubes (centers of paper towels) are also great to throw in the mix of stackables. Providing a variety of shapes and sizes will encourage your child to invent new ways to balance and build that a set of traditional square blocks might not. Plus, it gives him a chance to understand size relationships.
  3. Squish, Squeeze, and Crinkle: Provide a variety of common items that your baby can squeeze and compare like pillows, clean sponges, and stuffed animals. Let her touch and feel the fruit and veggies you bring home from the grocery store like apples, oranges, and potatoes too! Then let her crinkle and crumple the paper grocery bag the food came home in. How does brown paper crumple compared to notebook paper? Wrapping paper?
  4. Bounce, Drop, and Toss: Gather up your Frisbees, tennis balls, and any other balls you have around the house. Let your baby play freely and discover which bounces highest when dropped and which he can throw highest or farthest. Add some of those potatoes and crumpled-paper balls to this game. Can he throw a pillow? What happens when he drops a cardboard box?
Creativity & Play
Gross Motor Skills
Age 2
Age 1
Shapes and Sizes
Motor Skills
Block Play
Kinesthetic Learning