16th April 2016

8 not-toys that babies and toddlers will love

Cat Sims lists some things to entertain your little one… For those times when all the coloured plastic in the world is not enough.


An oldie but a goody. A failsafe to get you through a quick coffee with a friend. For an extra ten minutes, find a lock they can try and put them in. Always a good idea to make a set of keys just for them – far less chance they’ll totally screw up your life when they lose them down a drain.


If you’re struggling to find ten minutes to boil some spaghetti, have a wee and wipe handprints from every surface, open the empty dishwasher and give them all the plastic cutlery you have. They’ll happily load and unload that for at least ten minutes. Show them the magic trapdoor (where the tablet goes) and they’ll be putty in your hands. Briefly.

Anything that holds poo

The toilet bowl, the potty, the litter tray…you name it, if it’s made to hold poo you can be certain your toddler will want to play with it, lick it, put their hands all over it. We realise this isn’t a helpful suggestion – think of it as a friendly heads up.

Plastic bottles

Just add rice, or lentils, or coloured water, or water with glitter, or water and a couple of glow sticks. Goes without saying: glue the lid on and then seal with sticky tape. Throw in a Harry Potter-style security magic spell as well and don’t blame us if it still goes wrong.

The cat

Refers to all pets really. Only you know your pet (and for that matter, your toddler) well enough to decide how far you can let this go but either way, be clear on one thing: toddlers will always try to play (read: pull, poke, kick, chase) the pets in your household. Be ready.

Buggy clips

Open up the buggy, place it in the living room, put on the brake and leave them to play with the clips. From personal experience, you can probably get a day and a half out of this.


Think of a piggy bank as a real-life shape sorter. They love nothing more than negotiating cash money coins into tiny slit-shaped slots. It makes them feel grown up and, when they’re done, you can count it out and buy wine. In related news, wallets, bank cards and handbags are also big not-toy hits.

Cardboard boxes

As if Amazon wasn’t already amazing enough, you can now put their penchant for over-packaging everything to good use. Put some crayons, chalks, stamps and stickers in a big cardboard box and add a naked baby/toddler (nappy on preferably). It’s like a really, teeny-tiny playpen that surprisingly they’ll love.


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