The $200 Dollar Toy or the Box it Came in? I’ll Take the Box, Please.

Let me start out today by posing a question. I bet most parents out there can correctly guess the answer. What do baby wipes, plastic utensils, Tupperware containers, and canned goods have in common?

Well, if you were to ask my one-year-old Clare (and if she could verbalize a response), she would tell you that they are the most fascinating toys that she owns.

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(Pssst: Don’t tell Grayson that she nabbed a couple of his DVDs also)

In fact, Clare has devised a number of games based on her love for everything found in and around the kitchen. There are classics such as “Where Can I Hide the Can of Diced Tomatoes so that Dad Can’t Find It?” and “Shred the Napkins into Tiny Pieces.” Don’t forget personal favorites such as “How Does the Banana Peel that I Hid in the Bottom of the Toy Bin Last Week Taste?” and, of course, “Take Every Baby Wipe (one-by-one) Out of the Container that Dad Thought He had Hid from Me.”

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Honestly, as I stand here writing this post, Clare has discovered the joy of unrolling the entire roll of parchment paper she found in the cabinet (sorry, honey).

Not to be outdone, Grayson (3) has also created some new games, albeit based on more traditional concepts. One example is his play on Hide and Go Seek with the special rules that he must always hide in the same place and will scream at dad if he does not come “find” him for 4000th time in a row. Admittedly, this is actually very cute for the first 20 times or so.

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There is also a variation of this called, “Yank the Curtain Rod Off the Wall,” which thankfully he has yet to discover. Unfortunately, that cannot be said for his older brother, Cameron (6), who has managed to do just that in his bedroom.

You may be asking yourself, doesn’t this guy buy his kids real toys? The fact is that I have actually been known to put bans on toy buying for Christmases and birthdays because the kids have so many. We converted our formal dining room into a playroom. It is a very artistic mix of wall prints of Italian street scenes and rows of toy bins, cubbies, doll houses, and train tracks. The entire basement rec area is also devoted almost exclusively to toys (cars, trains, pop-up tents, a mini-kitchen, a mini-tool bench, etc.).

In fact, those rooms that are not exclusively devoted to toys usually have a toy bin in them. This includes the great room, master bedroom, and every kid bedroom. Toys had made their way into every room of the house (bathrooms too!). So, I guess this love for all things non-toy goes back to the question, “which is more entertaining: the $200 toy or the cardboard box it came in?”

I’ll end with this game. It’s one of Clare’s favorites. It’s’ called “Throw my Food on the Floor when Dad Isn’t Looking and then Smile Innocently when He Gives Me a Knowing Look.”

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Bonus points are scored for getting food down into the vent.

I’m actually scared to think of what has managed to get down there.

Until next time – Chris (active dad at home)

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