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Are the piles of messy toys in your home threatening your sanity? Perhaps it’s time to declutter. Science suggests that reducing the quantity of toys can be good for children. How? Having fewer options gives children the opportunity to focus better on each toy and to explore and play with it in greater depth. This increases their creativity and encourages them to think outside the box – an important part of their cognitive development.

So, instead of always looking to buy new toys for your children, here are four new and fun ways to play with what they already have.

A musical kitchen

Are your children always raiding your kitchen for items they can play with? Why not help them create a musical ‘orchestra’ with some kitchen utensils? From pots to pans, lids to ladles – just about any utensil is a good material to use. As you bang on each pot, teach your kids to identify the variations in sound. Let them create their own rhythm and beat, then perform the musical set as a family!

Watch out for that domino effect!

Wooden blocks are one of the most versatile toys in the market as there are so many ways to play with them. But don’t just stop at building skyscrapers and towers. For a fun wooden block activity, clear as much floor space as you can and get your child to arrange the blocks in the shape of a wave. Don’t forget to capture the domino action on video as your child pushes that first block!

A hide and seek hack

A game of hide and seek is loads of fun but having to play it countless number of times a day can be exhausting. This clever hack gives you a well-deserved breather: gather all the soft toys together and hide them in hard to find places around the house. Have your children seek them out while you sit back and watch the fun! To reward their enthusiastic efforts, offer them a treat when they have retrieved all the hidden soft toys.

Never lose your marbles again with this giant marble run!

Stepping on stray pieces of building blocks is an excruciating experience as many parents would agree. To discourage your children from leaving random pieces of building blocks everywhere, why not interest them in a game of marble run? A marble run is made from joining pieces of building blocks together to create a ‘running track’ for a marble or tiny ball to travel through. All the stray blocks will finally have a home in this giant masterpiece, and your feet will thank you for it. Once the set is complete, set loose some marbles from the top and watch your little champs entertain themselves for hours!