Fun with trash

Classic situation. Parents go out and buy all kinds of fancy, colorful toys for their kids. But, do the kids care? Not usually...it's really the simple things in life that they get the most joy from.

My daughter (2 yrs) has tons and tons of toys. But when the mailman comes to the door, you can bet she'll drop everything and run for whatever is in our mailbox. I mean really... what's Dora when you can play with some junk mail??? Now that's fun.

So each day we sit and go through the mail together. I sift through, while she patiently waits for whatever I toss her way. And by patiently waiting I mean, she's flipping out, jumping up and down, and bugging me for My mail, right now, Mama.

So anyway, she enjoys the mail. She likes to play with it and spread it all around the living room. She'll also sit and "read" the catalogs. She calls them her magazines.
Oh and she likes to cover herself in the store circulars. I sware she is preparing for when her and her doll might one day be homeless! (I have no clue where she gets these ideas from!)

Another way we have fun with trash is to color on it. Who needs coloring books? You got free paper walking right up to your door each and every day. We especially like when we get packages delivered and their contents are wrapped in big sheets of paper. They are great for doing little body outlines.

But, by far, my daughter's favorite things in the mail are the boxes! So much can be done with them. First we drag the box in and she spends a great amount of time coloring all over it.

I usually join in drawing designs and then we practice writing each family member's name. When she's done with coloring, she'll usually play around for awhile more, just climbing on the box.

And finally we open the box up, she gets to see whatever is inside and she's always excited, even though it could be something boring, like new bath towels. Then when everything is out, she tosses a bunch of her toys inside and plays inside the box for awhile more. Sometimes she'll go and drag the crayons in the box with her, so she can color the inside. Other times, Hubby will push her around the room inside the box... weee! And of course, you can always make a fort with boxes.

So that's how we have fun with trash. It seriously can keep my daughter occupied for half the day. Not a single "real" toy she owns can do that. This is just one more reason to look at something before you throw it out... see if you can use it again, repurpose it for something else, or if the kids can play with it for a few hours before you toss or recycle it.