Things with buttons
Our 8-month-old daughter loves to press the buttons on things - especially electronics. We took the batteries out of an old remote control for her to play with, and I'm sure giving her an old calculator or cell phone to monkey around with would be just as much fun. Of course, acting like she isn't allowed to have it makes it that much more appealing!
Cardboard and Paper
Old tissue boxes, cereal boxes, or whatever other boxes you have lying around make fun objects for babies to explore. Stuff a small toy inside for the baby to work on fishing out. Older kids can use boxes to build forts and castles and play hide-and-seek. If you're brave, paper works, too. One mom says of her twin boys, "They love flipping the pages and crumpling the paper. Of course if they get a piece off they try to eat it but that doesn't happen often." I wish I could say the same for my daughter. When she got done with a magazine I gave her, it looked like the dog had eaten my homework.
There are pictures of me when I was a kid going through my mom's kitchen cupboards and having the time of my life! Think of all the fun things you already have in your kitchen. Pots, pans, Tupperware, and coffee containers make great drums. Some of our daughter's favorite toys are measuring spoons and cups, which she loves to chew on, wave about, and bang on things. One aunt even suggests fruits and vegetables as a toy. She says, "We loved playing with fruits and vegetables. No joke, the butternut squash was the younger one's favorite for a while!"
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