Toys and games for nearly nothing

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Dens – A good wet weather activity, although it can also be done outside. Collect together some old blankets, large towels or bedspreads, and drape them over chairs and tables to make a little house. Children quite happily sit in dens for hours, playing picnics and hiding and so on.

Large cardboard boxes – With a bit of imagination and a few felt tip pens or a bit of poster paint, the kinds of boxes washing machines and fridges come in are perfect for turning into space rockets, a Tardis (as in Dr Who), play houses and so on.

Plastic tubs – These make excellent little boats for floating in the bath or washing up bowl. A bit of blue tack, a lollipop stick and a small piece of paper of cloth might even make a sail.

Squeezy bottles – These also provide water fun, even more so in the summer when they can be used to drench people outside.

Old washing up bowl with some play sand in it – You have an instant sandpit, which is another useful rainy day tactic. Spoons and plastic bowls can be deployed as buckets and spades.

Home made modelling dough – You’ll need

  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g salt
  • 140ml water
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Few drops of food colouring (optional)

Mix together until you feel it is the right consistency. You can add food colouring if necessary.

Shoe box guitar – Take an old shoe box and stretch rubber bands across the width at the middle, These can be plucked to make a sound. Decorate the box if you like.

Peg dolls – Buy the old fashioned sort that don’t have a spring, and use scraps of fabric and wool to clothes and hair, before drawing a face on with a felt tipped pen.

Home made puzzles – Stick a picture onto firm backing card, and put clear sticky backed plastic on top of the picture, if you have any. Cut the picture into piece that will be realistic for your child to reassemble.

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