In Estonia we say, that play is the work of children. The play has an important role in baby’s development and it teaches skills that babies will use in life. Researchers have found that the availability of play material is one of the most consistent predictors of intelligence.
Buying toys for your baby can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips how to save money on toys.
Recycle the things you have at home
Babies don’t distinguish if the playthings are store bought or not, they don’t care about brands – they just want something interesting to play with. Different household and everyday items make perfect toys.
a small container full of rice makes a great rattle
plastic bottles full of glitter, water, and small items can be turned into discovery bottles
upcycled juice cartons can become a dollhouse
old keyboards and remote controls are always baby’s favorites
The possibilities are endless, just raid your cupboards and let your imagination run.
If you have friends who also have kids, swapping toys is a great idea and saves you a lot of money. Ask your friends for their unwanted playthings and in return give them the toys your kids are not interested in anymore. It’s a win-win for everyone! Kids get new things to play with and parents don’t have to spend any money.
Swapping may be done on the internet too. I’m a part of a local Facebook group called “If you want it, it’s yours!”. It’s a group where people want to get rid of the things they don’t need anymore. I usually share Sofia’s things that she no longer uses on that group. They announce toys often and I got a 5 activities dice by Andreu Toys worth 56€ ($74) for free. So look up different groups in your area and you may find really interesting deals.
Take out your sewing machine or needle and thread and create some toys for your kids. Busy books, dress-up costumes, and rag dolls are just some ideas for great playthings. Small fabric scraps can be converted to doll clothes, fabric numbers and letters or funny finger puppets.
Felt food is perfect for playing. Those food items can be used in different plays – restaurant, cafe, farmers market or just cooking in their play kitchen. Hours of play is guaranteed.
Sewing or creating your own toys lets you personalize them as you or your kid prefers. If you don’t have any fabric leftovers, look here for ways to get fabric absolutely free!
Consider used toys
Another way to save money is to buy toys secondhand. Visit thrift shops, boot, yard and garage sales. If possible, take your kids with you, to see if they are interested in any toys offered there. The good part of shopping at a yard sale is that prices are negotiable. If you prefer online shopping then check out eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon.
I bought a Playskool Soft Storybook for only 0,50€ ($0,66) instead of 9€ ($11,90).
Buy toys with long-lasting play value
When buying toys, try to calculate their play value! The longer kids play with a toy, the fewer toys they need and therefore, the less you will have to spend.
Try to invest in high quality creative, interactive and open-ended toys. Dolls, Legos, wooden blocks etc. are perfect toys to invest in.