Have you finished your post-Christmas clean-up operation yet?
Not sure what to do with the old toys you no longer have room for?
If they aren't in good enough condition to sell or give away, there is an alternative to throwing them away - you could thrown them outside instead.
Re-purposing old toys adds hours to their useful life and gives your children a second chance to play with toys they are not yet ready to say goodbye to.
These new play ideas will take their toll on the toys, and you shouldn't expect them to last more than a few months before they are ready to be thrown away, but these activities are a fun and resourceful way to squeeze a few more hours from some old favourites.
1.Treasure Hunting Old metal cars make excellent treasure for burying in the garden or in a sand pit. At this time of year, when the ground is very soft, sneak outside to bury some cars without your children seeing, then in a few weeks time, send them outside with a metal detector to hunt for treasure in their own back garden.
2. Micro World Small plastic figures, dinosaurs and farm animals can be played with amongst the shrubs and mud, in an adventurous mini world. Create a designated play space in the garden, sectioned off with large pebbles, or picket fencing, and enrich the area with small plants, sand, and sticks, so your children can create their own play landscapes.
3. Take Barbie To The Beach Who says the beach is for buckets, spades and ball games. Sand is an awesome material for building and sculpting, so pack up some dolls or action figures, so they can explore the constructions your children create for them. If there's no beach nearby, make your own with one of our sandpits.
4. Tatty Teddies There are so many things you can do with tatty teddies no longer required for bedtime cuddles: tie them together in a conga, and send them down the slide; fill a water table with warm bubbly water and let them enjoy a bath; or pull them round in a toboggan, for example.
5. Mud Pie Making Old play kitchen equipment can be sent outside for use as mud pie making accessories. Your children will love whipping up plates of mud, stones and grass for you to pretend to eat.
6. Long Live The Splash Pool If you splash pool has been outgrown, or no longer holds water, reuse it as a garden container. You could used the space to create a herb garden, or as a dedicated gardening space for your child to plan and look after.
7. Jumbo Bricks Jumbo construction bricks are quickly outgrown and replaced with smaller, more complex kits. But don't give up on them just yet because they are useful for so many things. For starters they make excellent sand castle building accessories, whether you use them to make a sand brick, or as part of the construction itself. They are also great for using in fairy gardens, or mud play areas with action figures and animals.
More more outdoor play ideas, go to the Wicken Toys blog.