Before I begin I feel I should explain where I got my something from nothing style of play from. When I was little, my sister and I would go and stay with my Dad and my Stepmom every other weekend. My Stepmom, at this point, didn’t have any children of her own and so didn’t have any toys.
We only went with a sacred couple of soft toys, so everything we played with was something from nothing! I have such lovely memories of dens made out of sofas and clothes horses with old sheets and pegs. Music bands formed with a tape recorder (yes they were cassette tapes when I was little), pots and pans and a good helping of ’80s jewellery and shoulder pads.
Shops where the contents of most of the cupboards were emptied, money made out of used mint wrappers and a till out of a cereal box with bottle tops for buttons; not forgetting the glitzy handbags to take with you to do the shop.
One of my fondest memories is when we moved house. The previous owner had left a lot of old curtains – some sticks and string with humongous ’80s belts later and we were Robin Hood and Maid Marion running through the woods with bows and arrows. So, I have my lovely Stepmom to thank for my something from nothing ways. She still does it now as a Nan to Floss – everyday objects turned into something wonderful. We’ve been away this week. Floss is dairy free and gluten free, so by the time we’ve put all the food in the car there was very little room for toys. We needed something from nothing!
The Banana Phone
It doesn’t need to be a banana! It can be anything. If you make a ring noise and pretend to answer it most children will generally play along with it being a phone. DadDad and Floss spent a great deal of time making and receiving calls on the banana phone. It’s great to develop language and social skills – especially as Floss has really begun to take an interest in using words to communicate. It also develops hand-eye co-ordination and motor skills.
Picnic Play Time
Everyone loves a picnic and little ones love role-playing simple, everyday scenarios both independently and with other adults and children. Now this can be as simple or elaborate as you want to go, or resources will permit. Where we were staying had some great outdoor plastic picnic items.
We used placemats, coasters, cups, plates and a jug as well as some toy fruit we’d bought with us – you could use real food, pebbles or just pretend. There was lots of pretend pouring from the big jug (this gave me ideas for bath time), sharing of food and setting things out. Again, a great language, social and fine motor activity. A word that Floss is particularly enjoying using is ‘more’ and this gave her a great opportunity to use this, as well as the old favourite banana!
Now you already know that virtually anything can be a musical instrument, but if you’re going to ‘rock it’ then you’re going to need some accessories; a tinfoil bangle, a scarf wrapped round your head, your hair in a crazy style busting out your grooviest moves (the only limit is your imagination).
Tune into a radio station you don’t normally listen to or make up your own songs. Your little one will love you forever and be giggling and dancing right along with you. Make a video to play back to yourselves for even more laughter.
Floss loves things that she can easily hold and carry round with her, especially now she’s mastered this walking business. At home she loves her little Grimm’s Dwarfs and can often be found with one in each hand. While away we happened upon a couple of corks!
She liked the corks as soon as she saw them using them as she would a loose part. They were a great size for her hands to hold. Floss watched as I drew faces on them and it instantly made her smile. As with lots of children she’s very interested in faces and as soon as the face was on they were then used in a different way, much the same was as her Dwarfs, as a companion for her adventures. Small world people could be made out of anything – shells, stones, sticks.
Bath Time Tea Party Play
We love toys at bath time, but we definitely didn’t have room for those in the car. After her love of pretend pouring we put bottles and cups in the bath for some real practise. There was endless joy filling and emptying them. Pouring from one to another and back again. Pretending to make a cup of tea and offering it up. Watching the bubbles propel upwards as the bottles filled with water. Watching them float and sink. Shaking them, swirling them, watching the movement and listening to their percussion. Great motor development and some superb science in there too.
I’ve been so proud of Floss getting messy in the sand. The first day she didn’t like having sand on her hands, but as the week went on she was really enjoying it. Always need a bit of messy play in your life. It’s great to take the opportunity to experience new things when you’re away from home. Exploring along side your child helps them build confidence in the new challenges and lets them feel secure.
Toys When Away From Home
When you are away from home it’s a great idea to take a few bits and bobs with you to help keep little ones entertained. If you are looking for ideas for when you are eating out, a car/ train/ plane journey or meeting up with friends check out these posts here.
Floss was 19 months old.
As always, I would recommend adult supervision with activities and take care to ensure the items you are using are suitable for your child in both age and development. The views expressed are my own. If I have been sent a product for review then I will state this is the case; my review will be my honest opinion.