During the weeks previous to our move to Sri Lanka, all our things were spread around and ready to be either packed, thrown away or given away. As is to be expected, the kiddos destroyed my semi perfect piles on a daily basis.

They especially enjoyed tumbling book towers to make stepping stones over an imaginary lava lake. Thankfully I find this game a lot of fun, I showed them how to play it in a hotel in Penang. We didn’t take toys on that trip and our room had a book case full of fiction novels for guests to trade in for their already read books. Every time they see a tower of book, they turn into magic stepping stones.

While I tried to pack, I started remembering all the other times  my kids have been entertained by playing with things that aren’t actual toys. A lot of the time the toys that we do have are simply abandoned or broken. The most fun being the art of spilling it all from the toy baskets. Kids rejoice in the the feeling of “making a mess”.

Just in case you’re wondering what other non-toy games my kids are playing; following are the best we have had lately.

A balloon and pump. Let it fly!

Blow up the balloon and then let fly around the room as it blows out the air. Guess where it will land, or try and hit someone in the head with it. This game can last weeks, since balloons are quite easy to find in the shops. Recently the balloon game has evolved into filling them with different sort of things like rice and beans. As of today, finishing this post, we have filled a balloon with air and rice, creating a great little shaking instrument.

Rubber Bands and random pieces of plastic.

Big Kiddo can spend hours making rubber band shapes by knotting them together or making chains. He once made a slingshot with a piece of broken plastic from another toy, which then turned into rubber band art since the piece of plastic had portruding bits where the bands could be bent and wound up. Some got really elaborate!

Toothpicks and Sponges

These are an endless source of fun. I used to hate it when the kiddos would grab all the toothpicks in the restaurants making a mess but I gave up eventually when I realized that they were entertained making shapes and if the table had a placemat they would poke through and make constructions. The latest game was poking a sponge with hundreds of wooden toothpicks. That lasted a few days and was great fun. I am still finding toothpicks all over the house.

Sponges are another favorite. They get cut into little pieces with plastic knives, they get turned into constructions, piles, little rows along the floor tiles, they are wash sponges for dolls and even sponge rain!

Kitchen Utensils

Big Kiddo for some reason loves playing with kitchen utensils. I have lost track of all the plastic strainers, funnels and measuring spoons he has lugged around everywhere. his latest obsession is a blue silicone baking brush. He tickles us with it, gives us toe massages and shakes it quite amusingly. Writing this I remember my youngest daughter playing with wooden spoons and ladles when she was just a baby.

My kids are not the only ones

I knew that we couldn’t be the only family that has this kind of non-toy playing amusement and I asked my fellow MKB Bloggers to tell me what kind of things their kids play with that aren’t necessarily toys and I got some great responses. Without further ado, our Multicultural Kid Blog’s kiddos and their non-toy games!

Eolia’s kids from Le Cite de Vents love playing outside, collecting sticks and jumping in leaves! I remember as a kid, building little constructions with sticks, stones and leaves. It really is hours of fun if you get creative. I love the little girls’ smile of complete happiness.

Fariba‘s children also love balloons! Well can you blame them? They really are quite a bit of fun. They also love boxes turned into cars!

Annabelle from The Piri Piri Lexicon created a play-wallet for their kids to play with during a roadtrip. I hear it was a great success. Her little one enjoys passing bottle tops through paper roll tubes taped to the wall. That’s genius. It reminds of when in Phuket Big Kiddo and I once made a great big marble race with plastic bottles taped to the wall.

Stephen from The Head of the Heard wrote a blog post about how his son learns new languages by using the smartphone. After the usual toddler adventures on the phone, like game apps and youtube, Mr.t discovered Whatsapp and has conversations with relatives all over the world. He sends emoticos, photos and even videos! He is learning so much, and so is his dad!

Ilze‘s daughter from Let the Journey Begin played quite happily with a flashlight for a few days. She discovered about how the light changed from far away and up close, how different it looked in the dark and even how to wake up her little brother still inside her mom’s belly!

Olga‘s daughter from Milk, Crafts and Honesty has a box of seashells full of endless enjoyment. She loves to play a matching game putting similar seashells together. She has even wrapped up the box in colored paper to give to her parents as a gift.


Charu‘s son really enjoys building castles out of books! I am sure that with a full library he can build a great big city!

Diedre from Are those your Kids loves it when her kids turn boxes and blankets into adventurous boats and comfy beds.

Tortuguita‘s children from Mama Tortuga are also big fans of sticks and seashells, the all time favorite of kids all over the world. Lately they have also been really interested in gardening and learning about plants. Win win right there!

Blogger and educator Lana, has a great collection of articles about Creating with Spare Parts! There is something for everyone in this collection. Your kids will love to create all kinds of things.

What about your kids?

What non-toys do your kids love to play with? I’d love to hear about it. Share with me in the comments!