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Free the Toys Activity for Toddlers | Valentine's Day

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Upcycle an empty box into a fun, low/no-cost activity for toddlers! It is great for practicing fine motor skills, problem solving skills, speech and more!


It has been SO cold for the past few weeks (-40°C/F), so we're getting desperate for activities to kill some time with my 10 month old. It's a bonus for me if it's easy, free, and adaptable to keep it entertaining.

The material list is really simple for this activity, we had all of this stuff laying around so it was free!


Material List

• an empty box, I reused a delivery box

• yarn, string or pipe cleaners

• scissors or something sharp enough to poke holes

• something to save - I used toys we have tucked away for sensory bins and themed play


First I used a pencil (not my first choice, but most convenient) to make holes, across from each other, along the top of the box. Make sure to leave enough room under the holes for the objects you plan to rescue!


Valentine's Day is coming up, so I picked white yarn, and red and pink pipe cleaners from our craft supplies.


I threaded the yarn and pipe cleaners across the opening in a zig zag pattern to make the web across the top.


We have a set of plastic animals that I use for sensory bins and themed play. I try not to use them very often, so they are exciting and "new" when I do bring them out.


To continue the Valentine's Day theme, I picked red, white and pink animals from our set.


Lastly, get the animals ready to be saved!


This could also be done with dinosaurs, trucks or cars, stuffed animals, figurines, or anything your little ones are interest in!


The first time I brought this out for my 10 month old, she freed 2 animals then lost interest. I brought it back out a few days later and she played with it for 30+ minutes.


New toys and activities may need to be presented a couple times before little ones show interest. When I introduce something new I like to tidy the space so it's not distracting, then set the activity out and let her explore on her own. If she's really into it right away, I let her play independently or lead our play together. If she isn't interested I will model one or 2 ways to play with it, if she comes back, great. If she's still not interested, in a day or 2 I'll bring it back out and try again!



If you and your little one try an activity like this, I would love to see how it turned out!!

Send in a photo on Instagram @PrairieMamasBlog


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