Keeping your toddlers busy and out of your hair is often just a matter of presenting them with something new that they can use for open ended play.
I like to keep sturdy cylindrical containers and tubes that come my way. I taped four together and numbered them. Try using empty yogurt containers, salt canisters, tin cans (put duct tape over any sharp edges) or similar recyclables.
I was thinking the bizarre contraption might be good for ball play. The kids could take aim at it with ping pong balls (learn about our love of ping pong balls!) but the boys had other ideas. They wanted to use it with their toy vehicles.
SPOTLIGHT: For more easy toy vehicle play ideas go here!
My toddler started using it as a parking garage.
Later on, my older son insisted I add two more containers to the line up. He also added gas pumps (i.e. blocks).
Man, those boys are so obsessed with toy transportation!
Side note: as I was using painter’s tape to construct this –whatever it is– I was thinking to myself, I bet one of those crafty people-types would do something fabulous like paint each container a different color, hand-stencil the numbers and find some invisible way of fixing the containers to each other. I’m just not talented enough for that (or maybe just too lazy), but if you are a crafty gal or guy, I bet you can make yours look not-so-ugly. Or better yet, let your kids decorate it!