Buying Toys

Looking for simple, inexpensive toys for your child that require no batteries, assembly, and keep his or her attention for hours? Here are some ideas for simple things around the house that will entertain your children while you accomplish all the things on your to-do list.
1) Play-doh. This is easy to make and lasts for a long time if you keep it in an airtight container. Kids love things that squish and squash, so put down some wax paper and let their imaginations take over! To make play-doh, take two cups of wheat flour, two cups of water, two tablespoons of oil, one-third cup salt, and one-fourth cup cream of tarter and mix them in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir until all excess moisture has evaporated and play-doh consistency has been reached. Let cool and store in plastic containers or bags. For a little extra fun, when you mix all the ingredients in the saucepan, add some food coloring for colored play-doh!
2) Boxes. A cardboard box can be colored on, painted, and cut, and can be easily moved or disposed. An empty box can turn into a ship sailing the high seas, a cabin in the woods, or a castle on a hill. Many grocery stores have large, empty boxes that they are willing to give to anyone asking.
3) Pots and pans. When I was little, my mom would pull out her pots, pans, and metal bowls, fill some of them with water, and let my brother and I play +cooking.+ We’d take cups, spoons, measuring cups+anything that could hold water+and transfer water from one pot to the other. We spent hours concocting various brews and soups, and usually ended up soaking ourselves. Because it was just water though, there were no stains to worry about and the mess was relatively easy to mop up.
4) A cheap toy. Never underestimate the power of one small toy. Another story from my childhood: my brother and I had two small action figures that we’d gotten from a kids’ meal. Those two men went everywhere with us! Outside in the dirt, in our little pool, on car rides, and so many other places. They +helped+ us wash dishes, do homework, play in the yard, and kept us entertained for many afternoons. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my brother and I playing with those action figures.
5) Old clothes. Children take great delight in playing +adults.+ Oversized clothes become disguises for miniature CIA agents or fancy outfits for little starlets. Ties, ribbons, shoes, dresses, sunglasses, and dress shirts are especially fun for kids.
Simple things, when seen through the eyes of a child, can become the most fun toy in the world. All you need are a few of these easily-accessible items and a health dose of imagination, and your children will be playing happily for hours!

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