catching water in a bucket

Cheap Little Boy Toys

Corporate America has convinced most parents that they need to buy the latest and greatest, most technologically advanced and EXPENSIVE toys for their children. Every year, especially around Christmas time, parents and grandparents alike go into debt to buy these wonderful and amazing contraptions. But have you ever had the experience of spending $50-$100 for a toy and having your child prefer playing with the empty box!?!

Remember being a child and spending hours in the backyard with a couple of sticks and your imagination? Our children seem to have lost this ability and it’s so sad. They are becoming way too dependent on technology for entertainment. They would prefer watching TV or playing the computer to playing in the backyard. We are doing this to them by raising them with too much technology at a young age.

It isn’t necessary to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars on toys for your children. My boys have always enjoyed playing with things that we buy for pennies or could find around the house for free.

Here are some ideas for providing educational AND cheap little boy toys.

 Indoor Activities:

  •  Tupperware/plastic bowls – Let them get out all of the plastic dishes and bowls in your plastic cupboard and let them play. Young children enjoy stacking the bowls as well as pretending to make food for you and bring it to you.
  •  Metal bowls and spoons – Children enjoy using these as drums. If it’s too loud for you with the metal bowls, then try letting them use the plastic ones instead.
  • toilet-rolls Toilet paper rolls/Paper Towel Rolls – Boys love empty toilet paper rolls. They can be taped together to make binoculars. They can be used as is to be a spyglass. They can be used to make all sorts of crafts. Your boys will use as many of these as you save for them!
  •  Large empty boxes – Never throw away a large, empty box. Appliance boxes can be make into playhouses and forts. Smaller empty boxes that are still on the big side can be used to make rockets, airplanes, cars, etc. Give your son some markers, a pair of scissors and a box and let his imagination do the rest.
  •  Small empty boxes – These can be used to make all sorts of creations. Together, with a few basic craft supplies, your son can stay occupied for hours with these.
  •  Empty food boxes and containers – You can set up an entire store with these items and this is fun for your son as well. Make price tags out of small bits of paper and it quickly can become educational as well.
  •  Bucket of water in the kitchen – In the winter, try filling up a larger bucket or container with water and let your son put items in to determine whether they will sink or float. Let them use measuring cups and spoons for added fun.
  •  Bucket with cornmeal to use as a sandbox – Again, in the winter, let your son play with the cornmeal as he would a sandbox. The benefit of using cornmeal over sand is that cornmeal will sit on top of your carpeting if some gets spilled on the floor. I would recommend doing this on a kitchen floor, though…
  •  Basic craft items – Give your son some blank paper, a pair of scissors, some tape and some markers or crayons and you will be amazed what they end up making.


Outdoor Activities:

  •  Bikes – All children should have a bike. It’s such good exercise and so much fun. And it really helps them to learn balance and to develop other gross motor skills.
  •  Bubbles – They are so cheap but so much fun. Take turns blowing them with your child so that they have a chance to chase them and create them.
  • Garden hose – Boys will be thrilled if you give them a bucket and a hose. Be sure they’re wearing a bathing suit for this one because they will become drenched.
  •  Mud – If it’s a warm summer day, let them make mud with the hose and then clean up with the hose or by running through the sprinkler.
  • Running – Challenge your son to a running race and listen to the giggles – especially once they’re fast enough to beat you!
  •  Sandbox – Another fun environment for boys. If your sandbox has sturdy edges, they will also enjoy just walking around the top.
  • Sidewalk chalk – Another cheap item that you can pick up with the groceries. Let your son fill up the entire driveway with drawings and then let them wash them away with the hose.
  • Snow-Angel Snow – Give your son a child-sized snow shovel and let them shovel your driveway. Or have them make snow angels, make a snowman, play on a sled, etc.
  •  Sticks and rocks – Boys will find so many different activities when allowed to collect sticks and rocks. Let them create small piles near the garage so that they’re on hand when they need them.

  I hope this article has helped to spark some ideas of ways that you can spend minimal money and give your son items to help develop his imagination and creativity. We do need to teach our children about technology so that they can get along in our Information Age; however, it will be easy to pick this up when they get a little bit older. When they are young, we need to get back to the basics with our children’s toys so that they will develop their imaginations and creativity and won’t be too dependent on technology to entertain them. And while you’re at it, grab a stick and play with your child. You and your son will both love it!

 Question:  What household items do your boys like to play with?  Do you find that your little boys can have just as much fun with a stick as with a fancy light saber?  Please leave a comment below.


1 thought on “Cheap Little Boy Toys”

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