• I don’t know about you but regardless of what toys I have had in our house, for some reason my kids always want to experiment using everyday household items to create their own game. And that’s a good thing! From the time they learned how to crawl, I could have the most expensive and sophisticated toys at their disposal and there they were crawling into my cabinets and banging on my pots and pans in the kitchen. I would put the pots away and yet they kept thinking it was their job to pull them out again. It’s good to know that as they get older some things still haven’t changed.

    …I saw that the kids had built a large fort surrounding one of our six year-old guests…

    This past weekend we had two families over for lunch. We had the kids eat in the family room at their own ‘kid’s table’ because there wasn’t enough room in our dining room. Plus it makes for a more peaceful adult lunch. I had the kids set up the tables with paper ware because entertaining is stressful enough without having a pile-up of dishes to wash. At one point during lunch I got up to get more forks for dessert, and as I walked into the playroom I saw that the kids had built a large fort surrounding one of our six year-old guests using a jumbo pack of Dixie cups. The young girl in the center had to stand perfectly still as the other children built a large pyramid surrounding her. Then all of the kids yelled out “dinosaur” and the person in the center, this time the 6 year old girl, thrashed about sending the cups flying everywhere as the kids cheered.  Then another child went into the center and the building began once again.

    My first impulse was irritation that they had wasted a package of usable cups. But then I realized that they were being creative and having fun. How could I get mad? Besides, this game was so much cheaper than the game of magnet tiles– the one that costs well over a hundred dollars if you want enough magnetic tiles to actually play with. Who really wants to spend that much money on a toy? The children kept rotating different players to stand still in the pyramid and they got just as much (if not more) enjoyment from breaking it down as they did while building it. It kept them busy for the entire afternoon while all the other board games sat unused in their toy closet. I decided to store the entire pack of Dixie cups in a plastic bin for future use. It was great for motor and social skills development, is appropriate for a wide-range of ages and was simply a lot of fun. I even jumped in there a few times to help them build the towers. Where else can you get a toy like that for less than ten bucks that entertains the kids for hours?