How to Use Everyday Items for Fun and Play

As I look back over 15 years of parenting, I realise the toys I purchased are less important for valuable imaginative play; it’s the props we use around and with the toys that have made the play so valuable. There are certain everyday items that have proven to be worthwhile for facilitating fun for my kids, and they are items you will often have in the house. These are items I’ve used time and time and time again. I’ll list them below and how we use them. 

How to use everyday items for fun and play

Everyday Items for Fun and Play

  • Bed sheet
  • Under-bed container
  • Toilet Rolls
  • Lids
  • Rubber Tubs
  • Mini bowls
  • Paper

Sheet

I went out and purchased a cheap king size top sheet for play because I used it so much for the kids. Cost me about $10. This means I don’t need to worry about wrecking it etc. 

Fun things to do with a sheet

Use for:

  • Backyard tent 
  • Play tablecloth
  • Lay in the backyard as a picnic mat. Throw a few cushions on and read books.
  • Put on the ground in front of the tv for movie night. As a rare treat, my kids get to eat dinner in from of the television. After they are done, shake outside and wash.
  • Place over table for a cubby house (underneath).
  • Good for forts too.
  • Make a puppet theatre.
  • Do shadow shapes. Hang a sheet up in the house (use a rope or find some way to hang it).  Turn lights out and have a lamp at the back of sheet where the person doing the shapes is. Do hand shapes, body shapes or make paper shadow puppets. Could do a guessing game!
  • Use a sheet to set up a play space inside. Check out examples here and here
  • Hang a sheet on the line outside or the fence. Put food colouring and water in a spray bottle and spray “paint” the sheet.

Underbed/Plastic Container

Best. BEST thing for play over the years! I use an underbed container for heaps of things! This has especially good for our family because we’ve had to move so much too, so this is an easy way to do messy/sand play without the need for a dedicated space. I’ll put links below to the relevant posts, and the other ways I use these containers for play.

Underbed storage container for imaginative play scenes

Use for:

Toilet Rolls

I don’t know about you, but our family goes through a lot of toilet rolls every week! We always have them lying around, and so over the years I’ve found heaps of ways to use them for children’s play. I’ve even started my own line of printables to use with rolls.

Fun things to do with toilet rolls

Use for:

Milk Bottle Lids

Another item we go through a lot of: milk! We have heaps of lids around. Just google ‘lid craft’ and you’ll find heaps or check out my own link below.

Fun things to do with lids

Use for:

Rubber Tubs

These rubber tubs became popular about 5 years ago, and I have found them so useful around the house for organisation and play.

Rubber tubs for family life

Use for:

  • Packing Picnics – put all items needed in the tub and take to back of car and then with you at your destination.
  • School bag and school (see mine from last year here)
  • Fill with water for a mini pool
  • Do a big batch of bubble mixture (find recipe here) in a tub for birthday parties.
  • Have a big tub of water in the backyard for when the kids play with water pistols. So much easier to fill up in a tub than at the tap. Here’s a fun water pistol game idea: Shoot the bubble target.
  • Helps kids with chores (see how here)
  • Great for party drinks – fill with ice and place drinks in to keep them cold
  • Float milk bottle lid boats or stick rafts inside.
  • Do a throwing game. Throw balls or other items from a distance into the tub.
  • Make a school holiday kit.
  • Groceries: store them in the boot of the car and place shopping in the tubs to make sure they don’t move around
  • Store shoes
  • Toy storage

Paper

Paper is such a simple thing but it’s proven to be gold for creative play. There are a lot of printables online now so you can create so many of your own things. Plus paper is great for drawing and other craft items too.

fun things to do with paper

Use for:

Shoe Box

We tend to have a rush of shoe boxes around back to school time and we always seem to have them lying around.

fun things to do with a shoe box

Use for:

Mini bowls

The last item I use over and over again is these little plastic bowls I purchased from Coles for about $5 six or seven years ago. Cutting up or sectioning food into little bowls seems to make it so much more fun for kids. They can be great for play too.

Use little bowls for food - fun for kids

Use for:

  • Use bowls for crackers, popcorn, custard, ice-cream, cut up apple, to seperate ingredients for make your own pizza night etc.
  • Section collage items in bowls
  • Add water for playing hairdressers with Barbie dolls
  • Wash Barbie pets or other small dolls in a “bath”

If there is an everyday items you use a lot of play in your family, let me know!

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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