One of the things I love most about having children is legitimately getting to play again and I have loved learning about different play methods, changing the uses for everyday items to make them fun for play and helping my children develop through fun play both at home and at groups.
Our local Surestart Centre has taught me so much about different play techniques and what a varied stash of supplies should look like to keep an active baby or toddler happily playing and entertained. I love going out to groups for the social aspects (oh and someone else clearing up all the mess!), but I do love our precious time at home and try and do little activities with the kids as much as I can.
Here is a selection of budget goodies that you can put to good use with your toddler, I'll tell you a little more about them and ideas for use in play further down this post.
Up first there's the brilliant water beads that grow from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a marble overnight. We love these for colour sorting, rolling through tubes, scooping, grouping, anything the kids can think of. These are normally used for flowers but make a much better toy!
Classic wooden pegs are such a simple staple that you can use for playing washing lines, peg dollies (remember those?) or even just for pegging onto boxes or paper. You can decorate them with little faces to teach about emotions too, the possibilities are endless!
Kids are never too young for a dose of simple science and I just love these measuring cylinders and giant magnets! Set up a little play session with magnetic and non magnetic items and let them discover the magic for themselves.
These grab and scoop scissor sets are easy to use for little hands and are great for playing with liquids, shaving foam, water beads, coloured rice - just about anything in your creative play day. Every home should have a tuff spot like this which is perfect for everything from messy sensory activities, to puzzles and even Lego to keep things in one place. These giant tweezers are great for little hands too and this play foam makes for great fun squeezing and squashing into shape, whilst learning about different textures and colour.
Little fishing games like this help those fine motor skills and these mark making paddles are perfect for sand play or painting.
Gelli Baff is one of those love or loathe products and personally I love it, but not in a bath sense, more in a shallow tub or tray to play with by hand instead of bathing in it. A good stash of coloured pom poms get used for all sorts in our house, from crafts to colour sorting and I just love how they look in little jars on a craft shelf too.
Marble run is the most perfect learning toy for older toddlers and we have this exact set and it's by far better than cheaper sets, as well as fitting standard sized marbles in. This toy teaches problem solving and the satisfaction for kids (and adults) of creating the perfect run is priceless!
Another one for the craft stash but also great for all kinds of play, are these coloured lollipop sticks. We love using them to make little puppets and decorations but my son likes making rainbows and patterns with them most of all.
I love this set of jumbo droppers that make water play easy and fun while strengthening little hands at the same time. Every house needs a good supply of bugs to play with too, you can hide these in leaves you've collected on a walk, messy mud, chocolate powder, whatever your little explorers will love the most. Happy playing!
I hope you like the selection and love your creative play as much as we do!
*I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to .