Toys are expensive and many a parent has overrun their budget when going to Target! But there are many ways old things can be re-used and re-purposed for fun activities for all ages and functioning levels. Here are 5 ways to make things you already have into fun new games:


  1. Socks: Grab your old socks and some markers to make sock puppets with. You can use a cardboard box to make a puppet theatre, and take turns as a family putting on a puppet show.
  2. Index Cards: Index cards can be used for so many things; create your own version of an already existing game like Exploding Kittens, Go Fish, or Memory. Or – make up a new game with your own rules!
  3. Newspapers and Magazines: If you’re looking for an activity that doesn’t require too much physical movement, consider a newspaper scavenger hunt – you can race each other looking for specific letters, animals, shapes, etc. in magazines and cut them out. Or use pictures you like to create vision boards or new collage posters to hang up as art. Like the comics? Create your own newspaper comics with an easily drawn square template or find one online.
  4. Wrapping paper: Opening presents is fun- even if they aren’t new. Use wrapping paper to wrap up toys or items in the house and take turns gifting them to each other. You can take time to create your own wrapping paper if you’re feeling artsy, or take turns as guessing what gift is being opened next. Play around with wrapping up really old baby toys, or something really big!
  5. Get active: If you’re really at a loss for ideas – use any and everything to create a (safe) obstacle course! Jump over the dirty laundry pile, skip to the left of the Lego’s, and make an animal noise as you pass the coffee table. Family members can take turns running the course and timing each other! Have dolls, stuffed animals and action figures participate in a mini course.



Emilia Nunez

Senior Therapist, Orange County