Diary of a LagosMum:The Best 5 Practical Toys!

I learned this tip from an old boss of mine who said that she makes her kids pick out some of their toys (and no not the broken, damaged toys) to wrap and give out during Christmas to motherless babies homes and orphanages. it teaches them about sharing and giving to the less privileged.

I decided to employ the same principle with my children and apart from the great learning that it offers the children, the second thing it does for me is make me realize that my kids have too many toys!!! All sorts of toys…soo many toys that even if they were to play with one toy a day it would take quite a while, maybe even months to get through all the toys we have amassed over the years. If they were to read a book a day we would be reading a new storybook for awhile!!

Even with this i know they are still going to get new toys this year, between Christmas, birthdays, religious holidays, relatives who pick up something for them on trips and what not. But even with all these toys I have noticed that the best toys i have found are actually the toys that cost next to nothing. My new year resolution on toys is …I am NOT going to buy any toys this year (unless its really unique…)

I stumbled on a list at wired.com and realized that the geekdad is actually quite right about the best top toys!

Too many toys?

1. Stick

What’s brown and sticky? A Stick.

This versatile toy is a real classic — chances are your great-great-grandparents played with one, and your kids have probably discovered it for themselves as well. Stick works really well as a poker, digger and reach-extender. It can also be combined with many other toys (both from this list and otherwise) to perform even more functions.

One warning: the Stick can also be used as a sword or club, so parents who avoid toy weapons might want to steer clear of the larger models. (On the other hand, many experts agree that creative children will just find something else to substitute for Stick, so this may be somewhat unavoidable.)

2. Box

Another toy that is quite versatile, Box also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Need proof? Depending on the number and size you have, Boxes can be turned into furniture or a kitchen playset. You can turn your kids into cardboard robots or create elaborate Star Wars costumes. A large Box can be used as a fort or house and the smaller Box can be used to hide away a special treasure. Got a Stick? Use it as an oar and Box becomes a boat. One particularly famous kid has used the Box as a key component of a time machine, a duplicator and a transmogrifier, among other things.

The Box may be the most expensive item on my list, available from many retailers and shipping companies, but they can often be had cheaper if you know where to look. Amazon is one of my main sources of the small- to medium-sized Box; I include one with virtually every order I place there. If you don’t mind second-hand toys, the grocery store (check Shoprite, Game) and markets are also great sources for Boxes.

3. String

My kids absolutely love String — and when they can’t find it, sometimes they substitute other things for it such as scarves or blankets, but what they’re really after is String. Now, I should start off by saying that String is not intended for toddlers and babies: it is a strangulation hazard and your kids must be old enough to know not to put it around their necks. However, when used properly your kids can really have a ball with String.

The most obvious use of String is tying things together, which my kids love to do. You can use it to hang things from doorknobs or tie little siblings to chairs or make leashes for your stuffed animals. Use String with two Cans for a telephone (and teach your kids about sound waves), or with Stick to make a fishing pole.

4. Cardboard Tube

They come free with a roll of paper towels and other products but you have to wait until you get to the end of the roll before you can finally claim the toy. (Perhaps this explains why kids go through toilet paper so quickly.) The small- and medium-sized are most common you will have a lot of tubes from the wrapping papers used to wrap gifts, especially right now with the recent Christmas period. The tubes are also great for artwork.

5. Dirt (or Sand)

First off, playing with Dirt is actually good for you. It’s even sort of edible (in the way that Play-doh and crayons are edible). But some studies have shown that kids who play with Dirt have stronger immune systems than those who don’t. So even if it means doing some more laundry (Dirt is notorious for the stains it causes) it might be worth getting your kids some Dirt.

So what can you do with Dirt? Well, it’s great for digging and piling and making piles. We’ve got a number of outdoor toys in our backyard, but my kids spend most of their time outside just playing with Dirt. Use it with Stick as a large-format ephemeral art form. (Didn’t I tell you how versatile Stick was?) Dirt makes a great play surface for toy trucks and cars. Need something a little gloopier? Just add water and — presto! — you’ve got Mud!

Dirt is definitely an outdoor toy, despite your kids’ frequent attempts to bring it indoors. If they insist, you’ll probably want to get the optional accessories Broom and Dustpan. But as long as it’s kept in its proper place, Dirt can be loads of fun.

Some other classics are:

Bubble Wrap

Plastic and wooden spoon

Protect Children Online

What is it about LagosMums? Being a Mum means that you are many things at the same time…


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