4 Free Baby Toys

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Tired of outrageously priced baby toys that will soon be broken and slobbery? Let’s “shop our house” for free baby toys!

I’m a sucker for the infant and toddler toy that is brightly colored and marketed as educational. I positively shake if it promises to grow with the child through ages and stages. Wait-is it handmade, free of toxins, with 10% of the profits benefiting exploited populations? I’m now foaming at the mouth, convulsing on the floor, upraised thumb twitching as if clicking “buy.” Too jazzed to care that I’m being overcharged, I’m paying for the good feeling making an “investment” in my kid’s development.

I’m not anti-gift or anti-toy. All I’m saying is that we all have random stuff in our house that babies love to play with that’s free. Take inventory with me!

woman holding infant while applying eyeshadow
“You can put on eye shadow and hold me, right?”

Broom and Dustpan

Sure, this is technically two things. Why don’t you come over here and tell my baby that.

I attempt to put Little A in his highchair with some finger food to do chores in the afternoon. This inevitably involve sweeping the floor. Being physically separated from the broom and dustpan seems to cause him physical distress. Little A strains against his tray, screeches in general accusation, and reaches for his broom friend. He gets excited when he sees me going towards the closet where the broom is, and bursts into tears when it’s put away.

It’s kinda weird, but he’ll play with the dustpan for twenty minutes. Sometimes I really need those twenty minutes.

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You would be even cuter if you actually swept with that son

(Previously Worn) Socks

Clean ones aren’t the same.

Say the boys don’t get dressed until after nap (damn you afternoon doctor appointment on cold day!!!!!!). I like to set myself up for failure by keeping the socks in the spirit of them “not being that dirty” and able to be worn “tomorrow.” These good intentions only turn into having a weird amount of socks under my living room side table.

You know who lives for this surreptitious pile? Little A. His favorite thing is separating the pairs and pushing a single sock way under the couch. Or balling them up and shoving them into his mouth.

Our Dignity

Infants really start coming into their own around a year old. They’re starting to walk and talk, sure. More importantly, babies realize they are actually separate people from you and can therefore subvert your will, judgement and actions for their amusement (they totally realize this, don’t try to tell me different).

It’s a magical time.

Don’t feel like singing Baby Shark or hiding behind your hand for the zillionth time or intoning “don’t bite your brothers’ tookis” or being covered in snot or feeling embarrassed during an appointment because your baby won’t stop screaming? Too bad. Our dignity is a plaything now.

One time I was wearing Little A in a tight wrap and watched him work for seven minutes to free his little fist just to put it in my mouth.

Women holding infant and smiling at it
Moments later he threw a shell and broke it at our local natural history museum

Cooking Pots

These are great. You bring the baby in the kitchen with you, put a few pots and pans on the floor, and get some dinner going.

Shiny and cavernous, the fun of banging these kitchen staples with a wooden spoon is directly correlated to how bad of a headache one has.

There you have it! Four items around your house (or maybe three if, like me, you’ve been lacking dignity for a bit) that babies love to play with. No spending required!



Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.
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