You know it, we know it – heck, your kid even knows it. Too much money gets spent on toys. Between parents, friends, family members and the sweet, old couple that lives next door, your toddler probably has years worth of plastic entertainment at his sticky fingertips. You may have dabbled in living room organization – perhaps you’ve even bought the containers and shelving units for “sorting” everything properly. But in reality, on an average day, it looks like Babies “R” Us puked all over the floor.
If you’re in the planning stage for baby number one, you might as well save your money. Not that we’re endorsing any of this, but the following list of super awesome completely ordinary household items will keep basically any infant or toddler occupied for hours on end.
1. THE TOILET
We know, it’s nasty. But the toilet seat goes up and down, flushing is a satisfying and noisy production and things make a funny “plop” noise when they land in the water. As long as you’re in the room too, what’s not to love about toilets?
2. WATER BOTTLES
Empty or containing liquid, filled with coins or flattened. You can flip ’em, you can smash ’em. Water bottles are the greatest thing since breast milk.
3. DOORS, ALL THE DOORS
Whether they’re cupboard doors, closet doors or sliding doors, they all lend well to the elusive game of “open, close.” It’s clearly the higher intelligence of toddlers that allow them to truly understand the mysterious appeal of such an activity. (And when they slam their fingers between doors, don’t assume it was an accident. It’s all part of the phenomenon.)
4. THE HIGHCHAIR
And we don’t mean while he’s sitting in it, either. That high chair will get pushed from its home in the corner of the room, cried at when it gets wedged in a doorway and circled around countless times a day. The space beneath it is also a natural fort in the making – so throw a blanket on top and go with it.
The bookshelf might contain everything from Eat, Pray, Love to your husband’s old comic books, (not to mention about 500 kid books), but your little one will choose Cookies & Bars every damn time. Okay, YOU WIN KID. We’ll try to bake more. Maybe.
The process of figuring out how to open the DVD case, pull out the little booklet and force the disc free is just an entertaining challenge. Or maybe she just enjoys mocking our ancient technology.
7. METAL MIXING BOWLS
Loudest. Damn. Things. Ever. They also spin well on floors and have stacking and filling capabilities, meeting almost any toddler’s list of requirements. Pro tip: Avoid this activity AT ALL COSTS if you have a headache. (Although, you’ll have one soon anyway.)
While you’ve got the cupboards open for the mixing bowls, why not haul out that intimidatingly large pile of mismatched Tupperware containers and lids? (Oh, don’t even pretend your Tupperware cupboard is organized. Nobody’s Tupperware cupboard is organized.) With all the different shapes and sizes of plastic containers, you’ll never need building blocks. And hey – they’re fun in the bath, too!
They’re easy to hold and chew on, and they come in all shapes and sizes (okay, mostly square and round). Plus, they just sit there on the table all day long, begging sticky fingers to pick them up. The possibilities are obviously endless.
Finally – all those years of hoarding magnets (we’ve all gone through that stage) will have a purpose. Move those babies to the bottom half of the fridge and your kid’s whole world will open up. And who knew they’d also stick to the stove and dishwasher? It’s a bloody miracle. Just make sure they’re too big to swallow, ’cause, y’know, kids.
You thought their most impressive use was stopping doors from smashing walls – you thought wrong. Doorstoppers are, most importantly, for toddlers to aggressively yank them, creating a most earth-shatteringly loud “BOINGGGG” sound. Hence why they’re placed conveniently at ground level.
12. BOX OF TISSUES
Don’t act like you’ve never been tempted to pull out every single Kleenex before. Toddlers feel the same way, minus the moral compass. Once they realize they can pull those tissues out one by one, they’ll just keep on pulling. Rolls of toilet paper will have the same effect.(Just beware if she’s hungry.)
13. LIGHT SWITCHES
Similar to the “open, close” game, light switches offer the “on, off” game. It can be highly entertaining for young toddlers, and deeply satisfying for parents who feel that they’re teaching their kids about lights. It’s a trap though. Soon you’ll be carrying the kid around the house, repeatedly switching on every single light. For weeks on end.
14. BOTTLES OF PRODUCT
This includes diaper cream, body lotion and more. Just when you feel confident that your adorable toddler has surpassed that mischievous stage of getting into stuff he’s not supposed to touch, you’ll face a full-on baby powder explosion of epic proportions. And while it’ll be a nightmare for you, your little one will be having a blast!