‘Tis the season for catalogs. As the holiday season approaches, you’re likely getting loads of catalogs in the mail. Before you trash them all, consider saving a couple for the easy and free activity that is today’s hint – the “I like” game.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of toddler and young kid activities that require little set up and expense. This game of sorts, which my sister and I played when we were young, fits the bill.
Here’s how the simple activity works: Participants take turns picking one item on each page that they like, noting “I like [fill in the blank]” as they point at their particular favored item. Depending on whether you want to add a bit of competition to the game or not, it’s up to you whether participants can pick the same item or not, and whether they take turns going first.
Besides offering entertainment, the activity provides a great way to teach new words to toddlers and spark learning discussions. While any old catalog can work, I like to play “I like” using catalogs, from stores like Land of Nod, that I’d want to read through anyway, so I’m entertaining and educating my tot while also checking enjoyable to-dos off my list.
To be sure, the game may encourage a love of shopping in little ones, so if you’re worried about raising a spender, the “I like” activity may not be for you. The good news, however, is that there are other ways you can use free catalogs for frugal play.
The site Toddler Approved, for instance, features a way to use toy images in catalogs to teach your children about math, while Aubrey of Montessori Mischief shares an educational catalog-home matching game idea (only prop required: a catalog). Elsewhere, Allison McDonald of No Time for Flash Cards describes how to transform catalog images into creative Christmas cards.
What if your kids aren’t old enough for the “I like” game or the other activities mentioned above? Catalogs still make great playthings. My 2-year-old daughter has been playing with them – and other junk mail items – since before her first birthday. Back then, before she could talk, she would flip through the catalogs and tear them up for a good 15 to 20 minutes, a long time in baby time.
How have you turned catalogs into playtime props?