A wedding gift we received that gets lots of use: pretty Michael Aram coasters we have in our living room.
And when I say use, I don’t mean the use they’re intended for. Sure, we do put drinks on them, but more often than not, it’s my daughter who’s using the coasters as toys.
She’ll play with them by herself solo for a good five to 10 minutes (forever in toddler time), stacking them and moving them from spot to spot. We also play with the coasters together, counting them and talking about their round shape.
This is why today’s hint is this other use for coasters: They make great baby and toddler non-toy toys, whether for solo play or as props for educational activities. They’re also relatively frugal toys since they can do double duty as actual coasters, and they’ll still work for their original purpose after your little one outgrows toys. In short, leave out the coasters if you have toddlers in the house, assuming your cup resters aren’t breakable.
I’m not the only parent who has realized the wonders of coasters for play. The blog hello Darling includes “coaters in a stackable holder” on its list of handy non-toy’ toys and a mom chatting over at Baby Center writes “Coasters! LO loves coasters!” (LO means little one in message board speak).
If you have non-breakable shiny coasters like ours, all the better as toddlers really seem to like them. What if you don’t have non-breakable coasters around the house?
There are a host of inexpensive, and somewhat educational, coaster options available that can double as toys. For instance, Amy over at Miss Thrifty SLP shares how she uses sandwich paper coasters (similar to these) to help her students with sentence formulation.
Or, if you’re crafty, you can make kid-friendly coasters, like very creative DIY chalkboard coasters I came across over at Living Well Spend Less or canvas coaster models that your kids can decorate themselves, an idea Jessie Jane shared at ModernMom.
As for what kind of games you can play with coasters beyond counting, stacking and shape learning ones, coasters also happen to be great for matching games, especially if you have DIY kid-friendly matching photo coasters like those Krista at Life With Both Hands Full made.
Finally, if you have old coasters around the house that you don’t need, another idea is to turn them into art project props, a clever trick Birute Efe shares over at Playtivities.
Share your experiences with coasters as toys and games below. What other non-toy toys do you recommend?