Family, Frugality

10 Inexpensive Toys My Kids Love

Sitting here Sunday evening, thinking about what to write.  My daughter, 7, and my son, 3, are playing in the other room.  As I watch them, I notice that, even though they are surrounded by a roomful of toys, they choose to play with the following inexpensive items:

  1. My son is busy rolling two tennis balls around the room.  He puts them in and out of the tennis ball can.  He stacks three cans together and knocks them down with one of the tennis balls.  A can of generic tennis balls costs less than $2.
  2. My daughter has a ‘tea set’ that she’s put together.  It consists of plastic cups from birthday parties, family gatherings, and church fellowships.  She fills a large container with water, sits on the back porch, and plays ‘tea party’ for hours.
  3. My daughter loves to read.  At the end of last school year, her teacher gave her a stack of ‘old books’.  She’s been reading them to my son all summer.
  4. I recently purchased new tennis shoes for the kids.  My son keeps little balls, pieces of candy, and other little toys in his.  My daughter keeps Mommy’s old fingernail polish, notes from her friends, and candy in hers.  A little glue, some craft paper, and some imagination and those shoe boxes have become ‘treasure chests’.
  5. My kids have created some new form of checkers that I cannot, for the life of me, figure out.  Basically, it involves using the checkers, a checkerboard, and lots of laughter.  I do not understand the rules, but it looks like lots of fun.
  6. My mother-in-law travels with her job.  She collects the “schwag” that she receives and then gives it to my daughter.  My daughter has pens from Atlanta hotels, paper from Jacksonville restaurants, and a mouse pad from a convention in Nashville.  My daughter loves pretending to be a school teacher.  She uses these supplies for her ‘classroom’.
  7. My son loves to walk around with our broom.  Why?  I have no idea, but he loves to sweep.
  8. Two words: Bubble wrap.
  9. We live in Georgia, where it’s hot for half of the year.  I’ll put a sprinkler in the backyard and my daughter will run through it’s spray.  My son?  Not so much.  But, he loves to splash in the puddles.
  10. I’ve yet to try this one, but I’m thinking about it.  I have an old video camera that uses tapes.  I have a ton of blank tapes, just sitting in a closet.  I also have an old tripod.  My daughter has show some interest in ‘helping’ me when I video tape birthday parties and family events.  So, as a special treat, I’m going to sit down with her and teach her to use the video camera.  She’ll love it, she’ll learn from it, and we’ll get to see the world from her perspective.  Of course, if I had to go out and buy a new camera, this would not qualify as an inexpensive toy.  But, the camera is just sitting there, collecting dust.

This is just a partial list of inexpensive toys my kids love.  If you have ideas for toys that don’t “bread the bank”, let us know!  Leave a comment.  If you’ve written a post about this subject, link to it in your comment.

12 thoughts on “10 Inexpensive Toys My Kids Love

  1. This is a great article. As the mother of 6 children in a small 3 bedroom home, we have had more toys and items that I’d care to admit. Just yesterday I heard a mother of 10 who is now the grandmother to many declare to the other women at the church’s Women’s conference that she learned quickly to have very few toys. She said that usually the kids would dump out the toys and leave them, only to spend hours in her Tupperware, pots and pans, cooking supplies, and desk drawers. When she realized this, she got rid of most of the toys except a couple favorites and had more room to live in. The kids were happier and seemed less agitated now that they didn’t have to pick up the toys.

    I have decided to do this with our toys (we don’t have many but there are some that can be donated) and clothes which seem to never ending. This mom said that she learned that “Simplicity” in everything made their family the happiest. My kids are always happier with the cardboard box than they are with the toy because they can play store or make it into a building for small objects pretending to be people. 🙂

  2. Jen… Wow, 6 kids! That’s awesome. I’m slowly, but surely, learning to embrace the idea of “simplicity”… less, in many, many cases, is definitely more!

  3. My 15 mo old son, loves our old cell phones, we take the batteries out of them. We had to upgrade phones this year (long story) so we gave him our old phones and he loves playing with them. He thinks that he is talking on the phone!

  4. Same here, our daughter like remote controls and cell phones. I guess she is a techie.

    This is one of the reasons I do not buy toys. I see so many kids room full of toys and the children prefer to play with inexpensive things.

  5. Love your blog, but need to help with some possible confusion.

    I think you bought new tennis shoes for the kids and they play with the shoe BOXES.

    I thought they were storing candy, notes, etc. in their shoes.

  6. We don’t have kids, but I observed kids today have too much toys, they don’t know which to play with first. Most of the time, they don’t value their toys anymore & start “destroying” them pretty soon.

    Also, i noticed most kids are just happy with simple toys. It stimulates their imagination more.


  7. You forgot the ever popular cardboard box, the gianter the better. Can be hidden in, popped out of, even decorated with markers and paints.

  8. We got some furnature in the mail. My husband cut a hole the side of the box. Now my 3 year old has a playhouse. I know a friend who went to a appliance store and asked for a big refrid box. My daughter loves to play in her house. When she was a baby. I bought a plastic set of measuring spoons and cups for about $1 each. She loved to chew on them them play with them in the bath when she got older.

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