Christmas is over and now that your toddler has licked and bashed everything, he’s done and wants all new toys. Unless you’re loaded (either in the drunk way or the rich way), you’re probably not running out to get new toys after just buying a shit load of useless stuff from Santa. So how are you going to entertain your toddler for his 10 wakeful hours every day? You’re not. He’s going to entertain himself with these toddler toy hacks.
- A Suitcase
According to Google my research, a toddler starts to master zippers around 18 months of age. So whip out a suitcase and let him zip the shit out of it. He will also enjoy climbing it, hiding in it and rolling it around.
Danger rating: LOW. Unless he zips his finger or loses his balance and falls off the suitcase. Either of those accidents produces only minor injuries.
Extension activity: The next day, stuff all the compartments with shoes, hats and scarves. Your kid will shit himself with glee and be entertained for at least five minutes of independent play.
Tantrum rating: MODERATE. I find the material sturdy enough making it easy for a toddler to zip and unzip. If it’s an old suitcase though, the zippers could be challenging. Choose your suitcase wisely.
- A Photo Album
Toddlers love books. Toddlers love pictures. So haul out those old photo albums and blow the dust off. Your kid will love turning the pages and pointing to the people he knows. If you’re a super keener, you can make an up-to-date album with all his family members and friends. Once again, he’ll be shitting himself.
Danger rating: LOW…unless your kid rips a VIP picture in half and you lose your shit. And be sure to hide your old spring break album, or there could be danger for you when your love muffin sees it.
Extension activity: The next day, cover all the faces with post-it notes. He’ll love looking underneath and tearing them off.
Tantrum rating: LOW. The pages are thick enough for a toddler to turn them with ease.
- A Cassette and Cassette Player
You need to get lost in Debbie Gibson’s eyes and relive your Electric Youth. If you got that reference then We Could be Together because I think you’re Red Hot. Okay I’ll stop. Seriously, break out a tape and your old pink ghetto-blaster. Your toddler will shit himself when he figures out the eject button.
Danger rating: MODERATE. Remove the aerial to drop the rating to LOW.
Extension activity: Save Debbie Gibson for day two. Just when your toddler tires of the eject button, give him the tape and teach him how to work the play button. He’ll re-shit himself.
Tantrum rating: LOW. Unless the batteries run out, then it’s HIGH. There is also risk of an adult tantrum if your kid learns to pull the ribbon out of the tape. You best give him your old Tiffany tape instead. She sucked.
- Bread Dough
My toddler eats pizza almost exclusively. I am forever whipping up homemade dough in an effort to pass it off as healthy. Instead of shaking your toddler off your leg or putting on yet another YouTube video of diggers, give him his own wad of dough.
Danger rating: LOW. Unless he eats an enormous quantity and his belly bloats until he looks like a potato stuffed into jeans. (Who got that reference?)
Extension activity: Just when he starts asking to watch TV, give him a cookie cutter. You guessed it. He’ll shit himself.
Tantrum rating: LOW. As long as you make the dough extra floury so it’s not too sticky. Sticky dough raises the rating to MODERATE/HIGH.
- Cups & Caps
At first I was going to make number five boxes, but everyone knows that one. My kid played in a cardboard box for three weeks straight before it fell apart and we had to sneak it to the garbage. But after tonight’s play session with his grandmother, I had to make number five Cups & Caps. They played for a good hour with measuring cups, measuring spoons and bottle caps. He scooped each cap and practiced dumping it into a measuring cup. And, you guessed it, he was shitting himself once more.
Danger rating: HIGH if the child is not supervised with the bottle caps. LOW if you supervise. You should definitely supervise. Or better yet, recruit the grandmother.
Extension activity: Just when he loses interest, give him a paper towel roll. He’ll be in heaven dumping the bottle caps down the tube into the cups.
Tantrum rating: LOW. Unless your kid has trouble scooping and dumping. In that case, MODERATE/HIGH.
And there you have it. My top five toddler toy hacks for 2015. Look for a new edition next year when I have not one, but two toddlers on my hands.
Oh, and you’re welcome. You can send flowers (and free babysitters) to the following address:
Just joking. You can’t fit a person in the mail. I tried.