Top Ten Boy Toys $1 or less!

With 3 boys in this house, I've had a lot of practice finding toys that will occupy them for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. When I find something that interests them for an hour or more, it is golden in my opinion. Most moms will agree that the toys that you actually buy in a toy store and spend good money on are the toys that end up scattered around the house. The toys that are golden...those toys that the kids get immersed in for hours...those are usually the free things, the things from the farm store or the hardware store or a random find in your basement or garage.

The following is a list of the things that will occupy my crazy, short attention span boys.

1. A stopwatch. A cheap one. A tough one. Even once the stopwatch stops working, they will still spend many a minute racing and checking each other's "time".

2. Molding. Our garage had a few of these pieces from the previous homeowner, but you could find them cheaply at a garage sale or purchase them new at a home improvement store. This single piece of wood is responsible for at least 30 hours of play in the last few weeks. I am not exaggerating. The boys LOVE sending hot wheels down this ramp. They own true hot wheels "kits" and ramps, but they are not interested. They are only interested in this free piece of molding that they drag around the yard for HOURS at a time.

3. A cat, or a dog, or chickens...or any other kind of animal you can afford to take care of. My kids adore the completely non-social cat and will follow him around the yard trying to give him treats for at least 30 minutes at a time. Alternatively, the new chickens are the current intrigue of the moment for them. They will gather grass and weeds and poke the greens through the chicken wire and watch the chickens peck away for an obscene amount of time. If the chickens are out of the cage, my oldest has learned to bring them water and sit really quietly until they come up to his feet for a drink. 30-60 minutes are sometimes spent feeding and watching chickens. AWESOME.

4. A bag of flour. So you can't have a pet right now, but I bet you can have a bag of flour! You might think a sandbox or water table wood be less messy and you would be right. However, the messier the better for bebes, so flour it is! Flour will settle beneath grass pretty easily, so if you don't have an outdoor space, you could do this in a fairly remote part of a public park and you won't be bothering anyone. The first activity is one we did at a Maid Marion and Robin Hood party last year. You take old panty hose and fill them with flour, tying off the top. Then you simply let the kids attack each other. Big poufs of flour fly out with every hit and it is wonderfully messy. It is great fun, even for adults :) Once they finish with the battle flails, it is on to the leftover flour in the bag. Give the kids some scoops or old cups, forks, etc, etc. They will come up with their own activity and it typically will keep them occupied for awhile.

5. A Flashlight. For my son's birthday this year, his big present was a tent. A for real, camp outside tent. Some of the presents he received were to compliment the tent. One of his favorites was a flashlight. A simple flashlight has brought HOURS or fascination. HOURS.

6. A piece of plywood. Check your garage for a spare piece or buy a cheap, half cut piece from a home improvement store on clearance. Give it to your boy. Watch the creativity ensue. We've had ramps, forts, bridges, goes on and on and on....

7. Whistle. This is a great one because it is absolutely free to anyone in the world at any time. You could buy your child a whistle, but it will only occupy him for 10 minutes or so and it will drive you absolutely batty. Alternatively, you can teach your child to whistle. For the past few weeks, my son has been desperately trying to learn to whistle and he'll spend 40 minutes a day concentrating on making whistling noices in different tones. He is almost better than I am already and the sound is much, much nicer than any purchased whistle.

8. CD Player with MOMMY's MUSIC. Mommy's music is key. If you always use kid's music, it gets SO draining and the children shrieking can really get to you when you are listening to your own kid;s shrieking all day long. So, put on something danceable that YOU enjoy. Kids love anything with a beat, so while they are little, you get to pick the artist. Sugarland is great in our house..."Stuck Like Glue anyone??". An added bonus is that your kiddos will grow up with a varied appreciation for different types of music. Win-win. Oh and an extra win because you are exercising. and win-win-win-win because everyone knows it is easier to clean while listening to music and the kids will help you mop if you put on a little Miranda Lambert for them to jam to.

9. A tree. Planting a tree is good for everyone, but especially for little boys. If you don't have access to a tree in you yard, go find one somewhere. A favorite tree that has low branches good for climbing or low branches that provide space for a hideout. Bring your book along and watch your boys go crazy with imaginative play. We have an apple tree outside the kitchen window and 75% of the time I find my son up in the tree...usually talking to birds or trying to convince his brothers to climb up or running hot wheels down the ramp he has propped up (see toy #2).

10. A dad. Sometimes this one is easy...sometimes it is impossible, but NOTHING beats Daddy as the favorite "toy" in the family. Wrestling and punching and jumping on Daddy is the absolute favorite thing ever for our boys...even the baby who can barely walk loves dropping a 'people's elbow' onto Daddy's sternum. If Dad isn't around, uncles, grandpas and mamas can become favorite punching bags and crouching tigers.

Honorable mentions go to BIG trucks and little trucks (but mediums never seem to get played with). The trashier the better and the more mud to run them through...even better. Also, a big metal tub from the feed store is always, always a hit. Paired with water, sand, #2 or #4 provides literal hours of entertainment.

What are your boys' favorite toys??? Anything weird that suprised you when they played with it for hours?


Interesting! Flour, eh? I'll try it with my son - outside of course!