“Toys” you already have- Beans and stuff

  Any parent can tell you, 9 times out of 10, if you get a little kid a toy, they’d rather play with the box.  But if we’re all honest here, most of the time when we give our kid a toy, we’re hoping he’ll play with it only half for his own enjoyment and half to give us a break from constantly entertaining them ourselves.

  But why buy another expensive, noisy flashing-lights and movement toy that’s just going to drive you crazy when you’ve got all kinds of fabulous “toys” already sitting around your house?
  This has become one of our favorites:
  Dried beans in a tupperware with an old tea tin and the top off a kitchen scale.  G loves playing with this while I take care of making my menu, or getting stuff put in the crockpot.
  I’ve seen a similar idea with grains of rice or even sand, but I think those moms are NUTS.  Eventually, at some point, your child WILL do this:
  Beans are big enough that G can help clean up after he makes his giant giggly mess.  Rice would be too small for him to help much before he got frustrated by trying to pick it up…and sand?  I don’t even want to think about how bad sand inside the house would get.
  Beans are perfect though.  They’re cheap, they’re big enough for his little fingers and they make a great rattling noise in his cup.
  Obviously this is a with-supervision-only kind of toy for kids not old enough to know better than to put things in their mouths, but G is mostly past the everything-is-a-choking-hazard stage.
What are some of your favorite ’round the house “toys”?
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