Thursday, October 24, 2013

My extremely sophisticated homemade toys - part 3

Ok, so none of these three are really "toys," per se. But I had already started the series with the name "extremely sophisticated homemade toys," and I didn't want to change it to "random things you might have lying around your house that your toddler can play with," even though that's really a more accurate description. So, you know... sorry if the title makes you angry. Check out parts one and two here.

A Toddler Wallet
I've been using a wallet for about a year and a half that I really liked, storage-wise, but I decided after I got it that I wasn't crazy about the color. Also, I once stuck a name tag on it and then it wouldn't come off all the way. And then I spilled coffee on it. I'm very sophisticated and classy.

The wallet was from thirty-one, and I was just waiting for someone else to throw a thirty-one party so I could order another one, but no one was having one. So then one day Dan, Lucas and I were taking a walk, and we passed a house with a sign by the door that said, "Welcome to my Thirty-One Open House!" And I went up and knocked on the door and said (to a complete stranger,) "Um, hi! Can I order a wallet?" Because apparently that's the kind of thing I do.

So then I had this extra wallet that was still in perfectly good condition (minus the sticker and coffee stain, of course,) and I didn't want it to go to waste. I filled it with used gift cards, those fake credit cards you sometimes get in the mail when they want you to apply for a real credit card (why do they send those? Is it so you can see if the credit card would look good your wallet before you commit to getting one?) card-like coupons that expired before I remembered to use them, pictures I cut off of cereal boxes, popsicle sticks, and other randomness. And then I gave it to Lucas.

Pulling stuff out of (and putting stuff into) things is very interesting when you're a toddler, so he LOVES this "toy." I periodically add random surprises (pictures, cheerios, some seashells) into the zippered pockets so that he finds them when he is able to get the zippers open. (Just don't put anything that could be a choking hazard into it unless you plan to watch your child the whole time he/she is playing.) I had actually seen an idea for older kids using an old wallet as a crayon and coloring-paper carrier for restaurants and waiting rooms, so I just adapted it for a toddler.

Kind of Lazy Sensory Bin #1
Before joining Pinterest, I had never even heard of a sensory bin. But they're all the rage on Pinterest. (Click here for more examples than you could ever want.) The basic point is that you put a bunch of stuff into a bin of some sort and then let your toddler play with it. A lot of the ones I found online had themes to them, but the theme of the first one I made was pretty much "These are Random Things I Found in My House." I found some plastic containers the size of shoe boxes for ridiculously cheap at Target (I think?), so I bought a few and then... filled them with stuff. My first sensory bin had paper Easter grass (I do not recall when or why I bought said Easter grass, but it's been in my closet for years,) popsicle sticks, and straws I had leftover from one of my previous extremely sophisticated toys.

I realize this seems like an incredibly lame "toy," but I swear Lucas loves it. I keep it in a closet so that he can't spread paper Easter grass all over creation every day, and I pull it out only when the other toys aren't cutting it.

Kind of Lazy Sensory Bin #2 - Nature-themed-ish
After Lucas really liked my half-hearted, randomly just thrown together sensory bin, I decided to be ambitious and make another sensory bin that actually kind of had a theme. Enter the vaguely nature-themed bean bin.

Dried lentils, dried some-other-kind of bean, seashells and pine cones
In case you hadn't already figured this out, the lentils and beans get EVERYWHERE. Lucas was about 16-ish months old when I gave it to him, and he thought the best part was picking up handfuls of beans and throwing them on the floor (even though I had given him a shovel for scooping.) So I put the whole thing (and Lucas) inside a gigantic cardboard box (the other half of the box I put him in for finger painting.)

The beans still got all over, even with the giant box, but the mess was ever-so-slightly more contained. He periodically put lentils in his mouth but then would spit them back out (mostly.) But at least it was something that was theoretically edible instead of sand or something gross. I gave him a second bin in an attempt to get him to transfer the beans from one bin to the other instead of from one bin to the entire rest of our house, with limited success.

So, there you have it. My child plays with random assorted junk and beans. Because I'm sophisticated. Obviously.

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  1. Cute ideas! I really thought the Popsicle sticks in the wallet were latex gloves. lol

    1. Hahaha! We do have those at home, too. But Lucas doesn't get to play with them. We're mean like that. ;)

  2. Great ideas, my boys LOVED playing with my purse lol

    1. Haha! Thanks! Yeah, anything you can empty and use to create a big mess seems like a popular toddler toy. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! We bought two chairs from Ikea, and the boxes they came in seemed too valuable to throw away.

  4. Great idea, looks like someone is having so much fun with the big box...
    Thanks for joining us at Welcome to the weekend blog hop,,now following back :)

    1. Thank you! He loved it. :)
      Thanks for following!

  5. Hi!! This is Joyce (devgel) from swap bot follow me #19. I love all these ideas to keep youngsters entertained. I'm going to have to try that myself. Thanks for sharing.

  6. These are great! I love the toy wallet idea:) And I'm a huge fan of DIY toys like this. Here's how I made my daughter an iPhone:

  7. Love the wallet idea. I have an old wallet myself and was thinking of giving it to my toddler, 'cause he loves to empty out my and his dad's wallet whenever he can lay his hands on it! :-)