Do you want to encourage more play at home without buying any more toys? Then the good news is you’ve probably got some excellent play prompts sitting around your house ready to go! Here are 10 household items great for learning through play:
The opportunities are endless with a simple cardboard tube! Practicing cutting skills by giving a tube puppet some hair, boost role-play fun with binoculars or craft their own wearable gizmos… It’s always the kids who come up with the best ideas, so keep some out of the recycling for crafting and see where their imagination takes them.
Brilliant from those baby days where you can lace ribbons or pipe cleaners in and out of the holes for little hands to pull at or a fun addition to sensory play for toddlers who like to get messy with sand/water/rice etc.
Handy in the kitchen for baking but just as useful for helping your children to understand the concepts of size, measuring, capacity or just how fun it is to pour and scoop.
Funnels are another thing you’ve probably got in the kitchen and can be used for lots of sensory activities. Great for developing sensory processing and motor skills while challenging your child to think about the different properties as they flow (or not) through.
Old digital devices
Don’t chuck out any broken mobiles or laptops. If they’re safe to use, they can be left to run out of charge and added to the roleplay box. Your child learns loads by imitating the use of these devices, building their vocabulary, and practicing different ways of communicating.
Torches can be used in all sorts of different ways, from part of your child’s imagination to a useful tool in at-home science experiments. One favourite is to make shadow puppets against a wall and enjoy the storytelling skills it encourages!
Blankets & cushions
Build a den, set up an obstacle course, have an indoor picnic or create a cosy reading nook set out with books your child might not usually pick – there are a lot of ways blankets and cushions can be brilliant play tools!
If you don’t have any masking tape or painters’ tape on hand at home, add it to your household supplies. Masking tape can be used to mark out active game ideas on the floor (jump here, follow this line, try hopscotch) or given to kids to make their own tracks and shapes which can easily be taken up again. Masking tape is also easier for little hands to use than sellotape, so it’s a good one for using during crafting.
We all know children love a cardboard box! There’s so much potential. Save the boxes your deliveries come with next time and set your child up with pens or paints to see what they do with it. Plastic tubs and boxes are also a must have around the house for keeping messy sensory experiences or water-based activities contained.
Pens & Paper
Don’t not forget the beauty of a simple pen and paper. Those doodles, scribbles, drawings, and funny notes that don’t make sense are all a valuable part of mark-making, strengthening fine motor skills and aiding their communication. Imaginative play that involves writing is wonderful to see.
Are there any other everyday objects your kids love to use? Let me know over on Instagram @printplaylearn – I’d love to find out. Plus, if you like this blog and want to read more articles like this see our other playful learning ideas here.