Tag Archives: balls

Repurposed for Fun: Colander Activities

I love when I can find new activities for Buddy using materials I already have at home. Today, I pulled out an old colander of ours for playtime. (This idea originally came from Powerful Mothering’s blog here.) To start, I gave Buddy a bunch of pipe cleaners in the colander, and let him explore the materials. It’s been a long time since we’ve played with pipe cleaners, so they were new to him.

Buddy enjoyed pulling the pipe cleaners out of the colander and bending them.  Then he put most of the pipe cleaners back into the container. When he saw that one of the ends had poked through a hole, I showed Buddy how to pull the pipe cleaner through it. Then, I put a bunch of pipe cleaners in the holes, and Buddy had fun pulling them out.

After awhile, Buddy decided he wanted to try to put them into the colander holes himself. This was a little challenging for him, but he worked at it for a long time. I’m sure when Buddy is a little older (he’s almost 21 months now), he’ll be better at this part of the activity.

At one point, Buddy decided to flip over the colander to pull the pipe cleaners out of the other side. I loved seeing his creative thinking!

After awhile, Buddy took out all of the pipe cleaners, and he decided it would be fun to play peek-a-boo with the colander. There was much laughter involved in this game because he could see me through the holes!

Buddy played with the colander and pipe cleaners for more than 20 minutes, which is forever in toddler time. Eventually, he needed a new activity. I decided to pull out a bunch of his small balls to put in the colander. These were a combination of our Bright Start balls, Munchkin bath balls, and other balls we happened to have (affiliate links).

Buddy had a great time putting balls in the colander and spilling them out again. Sometimes they went all over the room, but sometimes they just stayed in a small pile. He chased them all over the room and threw them back into the colander.

These activities took absolutely no prep time on my part (hooray!), and there was very little clean up involved. Even better, they kept Buddy occupied for about 40 minutes. We both had a great time, and I’m sure we’ll do it again.

Repurposed for Fun: Balls in a Muffin Tin

Buddy and I went back to school this week, which means we have less time to do fun activities together. However, I do want to continue finding fun new activities for him. Today, I pulled out an old muffin tin and some of Buddy’s balls. Buddy loves balls of all kinds, but these Bright Start balls and the Munchkin bath balls (affiliate links) are his favorites. I put one ball in each cup, and then I handed it over to Buddy.

Balls in Muffin Tin 2

Lately, Buddy has been putting his balls in a small plastic boat or a cup and pouring it over his head. (It doesn’t make sense to me, but when you’re 16 months, it makes perfect sense and it’s hilarious.) I was curious to see if he’d do something similar with a full tin of balls, and sure enough, that’s what he did first.

Muffin tin on head

Buddy had a great time! He loved putting the balls in the tin and pouring them out again. He also loved hearing the balls rattle around in the tin. Buddy handed the tin to me several times because he wanted me to put in more balls.

Putting balls in tin

Spilled balls

We have a separate bin for untraditional play things in Buddy’s room. I put the muffin tin there, so it will be quick and easy for us to grab when we want to use it again. (We have a nicer one I use for baking. This one is almost only used for play.)

Do you have any other ideas for play using a muffin tin? If so, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

Repurposed for Fun: Ball Tube

Buddy loves playing with new things, so I am constantly looking for new ways to play with things around our house. The longer I can keep Buddy entertained, the less time I have to spend chasing him around trying to keep him out of trouble. (Right now he really wants to go down the stairs, and he makes a beeline for the stairs whenever he is bored.)

Recently, I used up a couple rolls of wrapping paper. I noticed that one roll wasn’t a firm tube, but instead was a rolled piece of firm brown paper. Balls are one of Buddy’s favorite toys, and I realized that the leftover wrapping paper tube would work well as a ramp for the balls. The only thing I needed to do to get the tube ready for play was use masking tape to hold the tube at the right size for the balls.

Ball Tube

Buddy really had to concentrate at first to get the ball into the tube while holding it.

The first time we did this activity, Buddy wasn’t sure what to think. He mostly watched me roll the balls down the tube and chased them around the room. Today was different. After I sent the first couple balls down the tube, Buddy wanted to control both the ball and the tube himself. We used the Bright Start balls for this activity, and they were perfect! (Affiliate link) He had a lot of fun putting balls into the tube and watching them roll around the room. The only problem was the tube was easily crushed when Buddy crawled over it. However, I was able to fix it quickly whenever that happened.

Buddy chasing after the balls.

Buddy chasing after the balls.

"Whoa!" Look at the ball roll!

Whoa! Look at the ball roll!

This was a great way to play with the balls in a different way. Buddy had a lot of fun, and I’m sure we’ll do it again soon. In the meantime, I’ll continue to look for ways to play with other things around our house.