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, pretend play.
Imagine my delight when I randomly invented the best homemade pretend play toy ever.
And you will not believe how easy it is to make. Also, it is very ugly. But who cares? Your toddler is busy and you are drinking your coffee!
No doubt you are super smart and can figure out how to make this just by looking at the photo of the finished product, but here are the instructions for how to make this easy diy pretend play toy, anyway.
What you need:
3-6 cylindrical containers. Try empty paper rolls, yogurt containers, empty salt containers or tin cans (no sharp surfaces!).
Tape. Try masking, duct or painter's tape.
Black marker (optional)
What to do:
Lay containers side by side on a flat surface.
Tape together so that their sides are touching. Make sure to use a few layers of tape so it stays together even if kids decide to toss it around the room.
Optional: number each container.
Present to child.
Watch what happens.
I was thinking the bizarre contraption might be good for ball play, similar to our diy carnival box or indoor box ball game. 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.
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 added in those free standing blocks, which he said were gas pumps.
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!
More fun pretend play ideas: