It always amazes me how children are entertained by the strangest things. You could spend a fortune on the “best” toys out there and babies will still find the wrapping paper or bows more entertaining. Today we went to the grocery store together as our family outing (we obviously live a very exciting life) and bought our weekly groceries. One of our purchases was the Sunday newspaper, which we have been buying each week for the past few months in an attempt to get exciting coupons. We never find any good deals but we keep searching each week, nonetheless. When we arrived home, I searched the weekly store ads and coupons, with the baby on my lap “helping” me. I have never seen him have so much fun just crinkling up the paper. It literally kept him entertained for nearly 30 minutes! He did try to eat it a few times, but he had a blast even with me randomly pulling it out of his mouth. It made me think, why do we even bother buying toys for young children?
Sure they are fancy and exciting on tv and in the boxes on store shelves, but once you get them home, they never look the same, they’re always a pain in the butt to put together/figure out, and they inevitably just end up getting stepped on/broken/forever lost underneath the couch because one of the kids dropped it as he/she rushed to make it to the potty and conveniently “forgot” to go back and pick it up! So, for baby’s first birthday, I may just wrap up a box of crinkly paper and let him go to town. It would most definitely be his favorite gift (other than the gift of getting to smash his face into a sugary cake) and won’t cost me a thing. Plus, it’s eco-friendly because I would be recycling old paper, right?!
Moral of the story, I am on to you big toy companies with commercials aimed at making my kids want ridiculously priced items. I will not pay $29.99 for a certain game that will remain nameless but basically only involves the box it comes in, a timer, one dice and a few sheets of pre-printed paper and cards. I can make the game myself for a $1 with tools I have at home and my kids will love it just as much as the real thing, especially if they help me “design” it! Plus, it’s a great activity to do together as a family! No need to spend a ton of money when crinkly paper and a few index cards can keep everyone entertained for at least 30 minutes (which is 20 minutes longer than most store-bought toys).
Kids are inherently creative, so I’m determined to encourage that gift, especially when it saves me money! Now if only I could get rid of all of the crazy commercials we are forced to watch when viewing any children’s tv programs….but I guess if the commercials were gone, there would be less to inspire us with; so, bring on the inspiration!