As a new parent, or a parent at all, it can be tempting to get the latest and greatest of every toy out there. Or, if you are like me, you don’t want the latest and greatest but maybe just a variety as well as what you might think they really need in order to be a “well balance kid”. Maybe it’s something educational or an instrument or we can’t forget, something that supports those fine motor skills. Whatever your philosophy of parenting is, I am sure you have a list of ‘must have toys’ for your child. I too have those parameters, but then during this holiday season something dawned on me.
Having those parameters doesn’t mean I have to buy something new. A few months ago, I realized how much Bennett, our two year old, loves water and buckets and pouring. So naturally, my mind went to a water table. I NEEDED to buy him a water table. I researched how much a water table would cost and found that they ranged from 50-150 USD! I was shocked at how expensive they seemed to be but I was also convinced that this was educational and best for his growth and development.
The price and the thought of the cost to the environment of the shipping, held me back though. So, what could I do? I could do the next best thing, look for a used one. I could ask around (we don’t really have used kid shops in Kuala Lumpur) and post on various sites to see if anyone wanted to sell me one. The next thought I had was about the amount of effort I would have to put in to find one, negotiate a price and then pick it up from some stranger (probably getting lost on the way). I grappled with that idea and then it hit me.
I already had everything I needed. I would put together a makeshift water table! Like many people I save my plastic containers from the grocery store (yogurt containers, plastic takeout etc) and reuse them. Those would be the perfect for the various sized buckets that come with the water tables. I also remembered that I have a giant tupperware that I was given a few year back that I could use to fill with water. So, I dumped the books that we were storing in the tupperware out, filled it up with water, grabbed some different sized containers from the cupboard and threw in some floating toys. Tadum! I had a water table .
Bennett loved it! He played for an hour the first time he played with it. He could not have been happier. I had my toy philosophy fulfilled and he had a not so new toy to play with!
So, next time you feel like there is a MUST HAVE toy:
1. Think about WHY you think your child should have the toy
2. Could you buy it used?
3. Ask yourself if you could use what you have at home
4. Ask a friend for help! It’s amazing how much better two heads are than one