Guest post from Katie of Embracing a Simpler Life
As it has long been said, some of the best things in life are free. I believe toys are no different. There is an authenticity and richness in simplicity that is unrivaled by all the blinking lights and cheesy, pre-recorded music of the modern toy industry.
Whether or not you consider each of these to be “free” or “toys,” the greater point is that the essence of childhood is found not in expensive electronics or the latest trendy toy, but in fresh air and imagination. I hope this list will encourage you and your kids to go outside and be kids!
Collect them. Build with them. Hide them. Decorate them. Make them pets.
9. Sticks and dirt
Make mud pies. Draw in the dirt. Pretend the sticks are pirate swords, cowboy guns, or kingly scepters.
Go on hikes around the yard, using your hiking stick to fend off imaginary lions and tigers. These are some of my favorite childhood memories. I know my kids love it when I play such games with them.
Climb them, swing from their branches, or create a clubhouse or hiding place underneath. Stash your rock and stick collection in a hollow place amid the branches.
7. “Junk mail” paper airplanes or origami
Here’s a use for the paper you’re constantly throwing out, and there are so many possibilities. The library has many how-to origami books with great pictures for kids.
On those warm summer nights when they’re out in droves, run among them, catch them, hold them, release them.
5. A homemade tent
Use couch cushions, a sheet, and a broom handle perhaps. Introduce flashlights or other household items to make it a real camping-like experience. Bring books to read or tell stories.
Run through them. Jump in them. Splash around. Go crazy! It’s so much fun!
This is truly one of the pure joys of childhood. While you’re at it, run around in the rain and tromp through mud barefoot.
3. A cardboard box
The bigger the better as far as I’m concerned! Decorate it into a castle, a boat, or a race car. Get in it and roll around. Go fishing in the box with sticks and string, while someone else hides inside the box and ties “prizes” on the end of your line.
2. Friends or siblings
Play hide-and-go-seek. Go exploring. Create imaginary games, secret handshakes, and fun hide-outs. Good friends are better than any toy.
1. You, the parent
Your child wants your attention and engagement. It doesn’t cost a thing, and ultimately it means more than any toy you could buy for them.
What “toys” would you add to this list?
Hi! I’m Katie. I’m a young-ish, stay-at-home mom of two adorably-fun little ones, and I live a life devoted to Jesus. I love to write, and I focus my energy on living simply and well. I’m new to the blogging world, recently launching a blog called Embracing a Simpler Life.