Summer vacation is in full swing and I bet many of you are ready for school to start back up again (I don’t blame you)! I am going to share a little trick with you that will hopefully help keep your kiddos occupied: find ways to reuse old toys in a new and different way. As kids get older they outgrow their toys, but if you help them look at their toy in a different way, then the toy is like new again!
We have tons of those multicolored plastic balls that you find in ball pits. These balls were great when the kids were 12-15 months old, but now that they are halfway to 3…let’s just say the balls weren’t being used in a productive manner anymore. We had so many that I hated to get rid of them, so I found a way to use them in a fun, learning activity.
For these activities all you need is a cheap $10 plastic pool, multicolored plastic balls (I’m sure you could substitute other types of toys), and a bin of some sort. Fill the little pool up with water, dump the balls into the little pool and you’re ready to go!
Activity 1: If your kids are very small, the balls floating around in the water is a fun enough activity for them already! It’s fun for them to see the balls float around, but you can also show them how the ball will pop up through the water if you push it down to the bottom.
Activity 2: Place the plastic bin far enough away from the little pool where they can try throwing the balls into the plastic bin from the little pool.
Activity 3: With kids that are a little bit older and know their colors (or if you are trying to reinforce their colors) have them throw the balls into the bin by color. For instance, throw all of the yellow first, then the red, then the blue etc.
Activity 4: Once all of the balls are outside of the pool from being thrown, have the kids race to try and put all of the balls back into the pool. You can do this a few ways. Sometimes parents don’t want to encourage competition between siblings, so have them do it was a group or team and time them to see how long it takes. The next time the balls need to be put back in they can try and break their last record. You can also have them put balls back based on color, or tell them “find two red balls and one blue” or “go get 5 balls.”
Activity 5: Give each child a set of 5 balls all the same color, but having the colors differ from each other. The kids can take turns throwing their set of balls into the bin. Help them count how many of their color ball went into the bin, and the winner is whoever had the most.
What other activities can you think of?