Anyone who has kids of differing ages will know that not all toys recommended for children over the age of 3 are actually played with by children over the age of 3. Of course we have to be careful of toys with choking (and other) hazards, but what 18- month old hasn’t gotten into his older siblings’ toys?
So, what to do with some of these toys? Let’s start with a tape measure.
The 18-month old can’t really measure anything and doesn’t care about the numbers on the tape. What CAN they do with it? I call it the “pull” and “turn” tug of war game.
Show him how you can “PULLLLL” the tape out then reel it back in with “turn, turn, turn”. Give a big “ready, set…go” (or “1, 2…3“) and let him PULL with both hands while walking backward. Use the game to ask “more” or “again” and “my turn” in addition to “pull” and “turn”.
Other ideas? Use it to make art! Crank it out to dip the end in finger paint then “dot, dot, dot” on large paper or “puuuulllll” it across the paper with “swisssshhh” or “ooooo” to make longer lines.
Not into mess? Try it as a leash 🙂 Attach any small figurine or soft toy to the end with string or tape and let your 18-month old take his toy for a walk. Remember to use “bye bye, hi, go, beep beep, uh-oh, stop” and other moving/transportation noises.
Just because the toy is labeled as only appropriate for your older child, doesn’t mean we can’t find safe ways to use it with our younger children.