Do your kids have closets full of toys and yet they act like they have nothing to play with? It might feel like you need to go buy new toys just to keep them engaged in play but there are so many ways to breathe new life into the toys you already have by taking them out of their usual context and helping kids discover new ways to play with them. Here are just a few ideas -if you have others please share them in the comments!
🧩 For old puzzles:
add another layer of fun to a puzzle by hiding puzzle pieces in a sensory table, around the room or inside of plastic Easter eggs.
🧱For old blocks:
add in another building material like shaving cream or playdough to use as “mortar”
🧲For old magnet toys:
Find a new interesting surface like metal furniture, outside on the metal garage door, or any other vertical surface.
🦓For old figurines:
Toy animals, action figures, paw patrol figurines and Barbies can be made more interesting when paired with different toys like blocks/legos, a dollhouse, train set or sensory bin.
🚂For old cars/trains:
Create a new track along the floor, wall or table with recyclables/cardboard or with painters tape.
💦Add water! Toys like suction cups, squigs, plastic animals and balls are extra fun when they are in the bathtub or tub of water
☀️Try inside toys outside or outside toys inside.
🎨Make them messy! Try letting your little one paint toys (with non-porous surfaces) with washable paint and then clean in soapy water bin with scrubby brushes. Painted toys can also be used as stamps to make art work.
By changing the context of old toys you can inspire new play opportunities, new pretend play scenarios and can promote higher level learning and critical thinking- and of course create a little bit of extra novelty to keep kids engaged in play for longer (isn’t that what every parent really needs right now?!