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What are good toys for a child that doesn't seem to like toys?

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I am needing to find something other then crayons and paper for a child. She seems to not like playing with toys. She will carry them around but not really play with them. I want toys that are portable, hopefully that would entertain her when we go on a trip in a few weeks. The child is a 3.5 year old girl. I have given her a doll, she doesn't seem to like that. She liked a kitchen set for a short time but then was over that. She loves to draw but only so much. The toys my sons play with she doesn't (cars or legos... she takes those apart). She will watch videos but I don't like doing that all the time. 

 

So what do you suggest?

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Perhaps some nice books for you to read together, or some wordless picture books for her to "read" to herself?

 

Does she like sorting things right now? You can get a lot of play out of a box of buttons and a muffin tin.

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DS was not that into toys but he did really enjoy his Plan Toys banjo and Plan Toys drum.   He played with those for over 4 years and even still pulls them out.  I enjoyed the fact that the noises they made were not obnoxious.  

 

Depending on how you are travelling however, that might not work well.

 

DD on the other hand loved all toys but for travelling one of those Magnadoodle drawing board with a few magnetic shapes was a huge hit.  She could play with that for the 2 hour car trip with no fuss.

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How about those tubes of small plastic animals? My daughter likes small stuff she can carry around. And the small plastic animals additionally become occupants of Magnatile buildings, cars, etc. occasionally

 

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Tools, or things for hobbies.  My kid isn't a fan of toys.  For Christmas he's getting a kitchen set (bowls, grinder, spatulas, etc) and a few cookbooks.

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lacing cards

silly putty

stickers and sticker books, similarly repositionable sticker books with scenes to decorate (Melissa and Doug make some)

beads and string/pipe-cleaners depending on ability

I Spy type books

 

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Does she like playing? Could she help dust baseboards, wash dishes (play in sink)?

 

I can't tell if this is your child or another child. If not your child, maybe she isn't comfortable at your house yet and just needs more time to be able to relax.

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When my kids were that age, about the only thing they played with were "People."  Little 2-inch high plastic figures that they'd turn into families or super heroes or anything they wanted.  They'd build houses for them, or sometimes I'd get Fischer Price houses or castles  (or similar) they could use for them.  This is something they could do alone or with each other.  AND, they mostly didn't get into dolls.  Something was different about these little plastic people.  (And they were sometimes animals, sometimes Disney figures, sometimes little children and moms and dad -- whatever I could find!)

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My oldest did not and does not play with toys (he is 11). He consistently likes sports equip.ent. He has had brief periods of liking puzzles (from flat to marble runs to perplexus...all sorts of puzzles). He also likes matchbox cars and legos, but both for much briefer time periods than other kids.

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Dd didn't get a lot of screen time but when traveling we had movies, a Leapster GS with a couple of educational games and one of these https://smarttechsave.com/products/xtremeguard-vtech-brilliant-creations-advanced-notebook-screen-protector-ultra-clear  It was nice because it had everything built into it unlike the Leapster.  Oh yes one other thing that often occupied her was our dog riding on the seat beside her.

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wikki stixx

magnetic drawing board (boogie board)

art supplies (you can get a portable little suitcase with a variety of pencils, chalk, crayons, pages to colour, etc. or assemble one yourself)

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Stickers, art/craft supplies (look for easy Melissa and Doug type), washi tape

 

My niece has always loved to draw (not color), and enjoys all sorts of crafts. My sis says they’ve gone through tons of washi tape over the years.

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My youngest ds is a teen now, but he has never played with anything much when we travel. I would provide plenty of activities, etc., only for him to look at them a few minutes, and then have hours left. Even now, the only thing that helps him pass the time on a trip is earphones with his music and a bag of snacks he can access at any time. 

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I missed the part about travel.

 

When we travel I take a bag of library books. The kids rotate through them and have since they were little.

Edited by Rach

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Plastic figurines/dolls (like the Fisher Price little people) of characters from the videos she enjoys watching.  My kids prefer to recreate their favorite episodes with the figures before they start making the own stories.  Octonauts, Wild Kratts, and Star Wars are all favorites here. 

 

Would she be more likely to do something if her siblings are doing it too?  On road trips, we've discovered that a huge bag of pipe cleaners goes a long way.  Even if she can't/won't make something with the pipe cleaners, her older siblings can create things that might be a jumping off point for imagining.  (eye glasses, flowers, light sabers, etc.)

 

If it's just for at home and not in the car .... a simple salt tray has been a surprise hit around here.  Kinetic sand is another option.

 

 

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My oldest wasn’t very into pretend play, but she liked books, experiences, baking, and craft supplies. Maybe teach her to knit? Stuff like that is easy with YouTube or a circle loom.

 

ETA: I remember my daughter would get her dollhouse all set up, but never actually play with the dolls. She just liked arranging the furniture. This is the kid you wanna teach to clean :-) Or let her sort and organize your utensil drawer. You should see my (now college aged) daughter’s bookcases and beauty supplies. They are beautifully arranged. She’s also great at make up.🙂

Edited by KungFuPanda

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If it will be warm where you're traveling, colored pencils might be better than crayons, since they are not likely to melt if dropped/left in the car. 

 

Things we used on a long (2.5 week) car trip when my daughter was 5, along with other similar options:

Colorforms (reusable sticker-type) or felt board and things to make scenes

Metal baking sheet with magnetic playsets (scenes, "paper" dolls to dress, etc)

Melissa and Doug magnetic dress up set

Playmobil (there's a Playmobil 123 level for younger kids, if that's more appropriate to her fine motor skills)--my daughter played with these endlessly. She didn't really enjoy baby dolls, legos, or building toys like blocks. They have some nice small sets, look for "play box" or "carry case" sets.

audiobooks

Polly pockets if she has the fine motor skills to dress and undress them, though she may be a bit young for those

mini travel dollhouse, stable, castle, or other play set (Playmobil, Melissa and Doug, etc make various ones, designed to be portable and be self-contained)

finger puppets

mix-and-match books, with the pages divided into three sections so that you can have head A on body C and feet E, for instance

Mr Potato Head

 

Do they still make Woodkins? This is what I mean http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2006/11/review_woodkins.html  If not, one could probably make something similar with thick cardboard. 

 

Magic Cabin has some cute things that are a bit different

http://www.magiccabin.com/magic-cabin-exclusives/magic-cabin-exclusives.htm

 

Edited by KarenNC

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You have gotten great ideas. I just want to add that, when you get home, you may want to start offering a variety of loose parts. Natural itemsn such as tree cookies, stones and pinecones,corks, shells, seed pods, buckeyes...these are great fun for use in a play kitchen, in an empty frame for transient art, in construction...check out Right-brained Mom, who had a terrific video on her FB page that shows how to turn a yard into a wonderful play space using loose parts. For kids who don't "do" toys, the offer an intriguing alternative. She sells stuff, too.

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