$1 investment, priceless play

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I don’t know about you, but this is what happens when we buy new toys. Day 1: The kids play endlessly with the new toy. The day-to-day bickering subsides. I am in heaven. Day 2: The boys still play almost exclusively with the new toy, but even now interest is starting to wane. Fighting ensues. Day 3: What new toy? The boys forget about the new toy completely, and it’s back to the same old, same old.

Researchers on curiosity talk about the importance of novelty in sparking curiosity, but, honestly, who can buy a new toy every three days? So it’s nice when we can rely upon some ways of injecting novelty into play without buying a new LEGO kit or Hexbug habitat addition.

I caught the boys squirting my husband’s shaving cream in the bathroom sink. Fortunately, they hadn’t made too much of a mess when they asked, “Mommy, can we use Daddy’s shaving cream to build a tall, tall tower?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Outside.” In minutes we were outside squirting shaving cream on our outdoor dining table. (Bonus: The table is now clean and fresh smelling.) They squirted it, ran their fingers through it. Then they decided to drive their cars through it.

“Look, this car is having a car wash.” They ran over to our water table to wash the suds off.

Injecting a $1 can of shaving cream into their play resulted in an hour of happy, peaceful, outdoor playtime. Thank you, novelty!

And here’s my favorite quote from their shaving cream adventures, “If you aren’t getting dirty, you aren’t having fun.” I think they heard that one on Curious George.

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18 responses to “$1 investment, priceless play

  1. I’m putting this tip into my “future parent” file! My kiddo would awant to eat it, but when he gets older the novelty will be great. I wonder what shaving cream will cost in the future. 🙂

  2. Yesterday we made something similar to moon dough by mixing cornstarch and shaving cream. It’s amazing how much fun a kid can have with inexpensive items.

  3. Kirsten, we played with a cornstarch/water/food coloring mixture yesterday. The kids loved it, and it was super easy to clean up! Do a little research and you can make it into a science lesson, too. Something about it being a solid and a liquid and the molecules re aligning for it to change forms. I’ve forgotten already! Miss seeing you guys!

  4. So fun, Kirsten… and it’s SO true that the least expensive items often create the most unique experiences! Kudos on being open to their idea of using Daddy’s shaving cream!

    • I try to remember that a lot of what they “get into” is motivated by curiosity. I try to let them experiment when I can. By the way, I was trying to find your FB page for your new book. Can you share the link?

  5. Great idea Kirsten! I love messy play. I keep a tub filled with rice and small pasta shapes that we tip into a baby bath. My son then plays for hours with it – filling up cups, making roads for his cars etc etc… Will definitely do this one soon!

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