The Best Free and Educational Toy for Your Toddler

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

I am thankful to the very rainy day we had yesterday because it helped me discover the best free and educational toy possible for my 14 month old!

Drum roll, please.

The amazing toy is a large, empty box!

Here are 5 ways that Baby utilized the box (without any prompting from me):

1. The box assists walking.
baby plays with box
Baby can take up to 12 steps on his own, but he almost always chooses to crawl. He discovered that he could push the box on the floor and walk around the house that way.

2. The box is a peek-a-boo station.
baby in box
Baby initiated several games of peek-a-boo around the sides of the box as well as by looking through the clear plastic tape on the bottom of the box.

3. The box challenged his problem solving skills.
baby in box
When Baby would push the box around the house, it would often get stuck in corners and on furniture. Baby spent the time to figure out which box flaps to push in so he could make it around the turns.

4. The box is an excellent drum.
toddler drums on box
Baby can find a drum on almost any surface, and when the box was turned upside down, it was a perfect percussion instrument.

5. The box is a toddler clubhouse.
baby stands in box
Baby enjoyed sitting in the box, playing with toys in there, and just practicing standing in the box.

What is the best free and educational toy that you have discovered for your toddler?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MamaP August 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm

SO SWEET! I SEE HE’S GIVING THE THUMBS UP SIGN TO YOU FOR ENCOURAGING HIS CREATIVITY AND CURIOSITY! THUMBS UP FROM ME TOO!

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2 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama August 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I didn’t even notice the thumbs up until I read your comment! Love it! xo

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3 Dave Higgs-Vis@Folkabout Baby August 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

My daughter Mandela has a plastic basket that came full of strawberries. She uses it as a hat, and has fun walking around with it titled in front of her face so she has to figure out where she’s going by more than sight alone.

She also loves putting things in it and then taking them out, and it’s a noisemaker too.

Babies are so creative!!
Dave Higgs-Vis@Folkabout Baby recently posted..Taking a Stand on Babies and GermsMy Profile

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4 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama August 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

They really are! I’m sure it’s adorable to see Mandela with the strawberry basket :-)

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5 Sarah August 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

YES! Love this! My girls both LOVE the recycling. Boxes, bottles, jugs, whatev. Best.toys.ever. :)
Sarah recently posted..Attachment Parenting and Sleepovers: When Your Baby is Attatched to Someone ElseMy Profile

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6 Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama August 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm

That’s awesome! You can’t beat it!

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7 Lana @ Dentist West Hollywood August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

How CUTE!! This reminds me of my cats, any time there’s an empty box or bag anywhere they climb right in.

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8 Bob Lipply@clearwater homes October 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Good idea. If we look around the house with some creativity in mind we can often come up with brilliant ideas but we’re habituated buying ready made things most of the time.

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9 Susie@ Hot Christmas Presents October 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

The majority of 14 month old youngsters can easily find most objects intriguing and are always ready to explore. Your child is adorable and seems to be thoroughly enjoying the adventure with the box. I clearly recall years ago my toddler nephew receiving an awesome Christmas gift, but what he enjoyed the most was the box it came in.
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10 Mary@American Spirit Pageants November 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I think Babies-R-Us should just be a big store with different sized boxes. It seems that every kid that age is much more interested in the box than the contents.
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