Well, as we look back on our son’s first fifteen months we have realized some things we spend money were necessary and unavoidable. These were items such as food, formula, clothes, and doctor visits. We did realize an area though that we spent more money that we should have, that was on toys for our son. We have realized as he has progressed that an infant and toddler’s attention span is extremely short. There are very few toys that he will play with over and over again for an extended period of time.
Of course he does find some toys that he will spend a lot of time with for a week or two. Some of these we’ve noticed are an Elmo cell phone, and plastic balls. There are a few that have held his attention for a longer period such as his ball popper toy (even though as a parent it drives me crazy), his lego blocks, and his Tickle Me Elmo Activity Table. The funny thing is both of those toys were presents so we didn’t spend any money of our own on those.
So, what does our son play with? Well he loves the remote control, but don’t try to fool him with a non working one, he wants to be able to see things happen on the television when he pushes the buttons. He also can spend an hour carrying mom and dad’s keys around and playing with them. Another item he loves to carry around the house is tupperware. One of his favorite toys though is my wife’s old cell phone which is no longer active on the network since she got a new one. We keep it charged for him and let him carry it around the house and that can entertain hi for an hour at a time some days. One word of caution though, actually two words of caution. First, make sure the cell phone isn’t active on the network because your child will figure out how to dial and make phone calls. Second, keep the cell phone charged for your child, amazingly they know the difference between one that won’t turn on and a working one.
So, as you can see a lot of items to entertain your child during his first year to 18 months can be found around your home. Honestly, one of my biggest suggestions to save money on toys would be to give suggestions to friends and relatives around his birthday and the holiday season. You might get more toys than he will play with right away, but that’s ok. Store them in their box in a toybox or somewhere he can’t get into. Every couple of weeks pull out a new toy for him. This way he’ll get something new and different on a regular basis to play with. Keep in mind that not every gift will be a hit with your child, but this way he won’t get bored as quickly with the toys he already has. Raising a child is expensive, you need to save anywhere you have the opportunity to, and cutting toy costs is one of those areas.