DIY your own ball pit
Ball pits are so much for children of all ages. However, purchasing a good quality ball pit can be quite pricey. The alternative is to purchase a cheaper option. Although, the cheaper options are in my opinion very poor quality. That’s why I took it upon myself to DIY a ball pit for my daughter. You should too!
Making your own ball pit is not only inexpensive, but it is also extremely simple. I’m talking about you can do it on 3 hours of sleep and only one cup of coffee simple. Which is basically what mom life is anyway, right? To make my own ball pit I ordered a small inflatable pool from Amazon. You can click here to view the exact pool we purchased. I love this pool because of the inflatable bottom. We’ve been using this pool for about 6 months now and it has held up extremely well. Then, I ordered around 200 ball pit balls to fill it up. Here are the balls we selected. All in all it cost less than $40 to make this for her.
There are plenty of alternative options if you don’t want to purchase a baby pool. You could always use a large cardboard box instead. This is especially fun as they get older because they can color while they are in there too. If you had a large storage tote you could also pull that out and use it. I like this idea because you could put the lid on and store it in between play sessions. When a toy is not readily available, it makes it much more exciting to get to use. There are a ton of great inexpensive ways to DIY a ball pit. It just takes a bit of time and creativity.
Use them during bath time
Bath time can occasionally get a bad rep. However, it doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can actually be an activity that both parents and children look forward to. All it takes is a few supplies, a little bit of creativity, and a great attitude.
One way to make bath time a bit more exciting is by turning it into play time. I like to do this by bringing a few water appropriate toys into the bathtub. Are you wondering what my favorite toys are to use? It’s ball pit balls of course! Not only are they fun, but you also don’t have to spend any more money because you already own them. It’s a win win. Your little one will love experimenting with these balls during their bath. Here are a few different ways I like to incorporate them into bath time.
- Push the ball under water and let it pop back up.
- Hand your child different balls while saying the colors.
- Show your baby how to clap two balls together.
- Hit the water with the balls to make a fun splash.
Your child will be so distracted playing with their ball pit balls that they won’t even notice you cleaning them up. This means bath time doesn’t have to be such a struggle anymore! If you are still struggling with getting your child to enjoy bath time, then you need to check out my recent post here. In this post I share all of my best kept secrets for getting your child to enjoy their bath.
Practice Sorting Them
Did you know that ball pit balls aren’t only for fun? It’s true! They can also be a great educational tool. Check out this next activity to see how. All you need are your ball pit balls in various colors and a few muffin tins. I love using these silicone muffin pans.
You may be wondering why I would recommend using muffin pans and ball pit balls for an activity. I’ll admit, it does kind of sound like a weird combination. However, with a little bit of creativity it can actually become the perfect sorting activity. Sorting is an extremely important skill for young children to master. Those colorful ball pit balls you have are the perfect tool to help them do so.
Set out a few of the muffin pans on the floor next to the ball pit. For younger toddlers, simply have them practice moving the balls from the ball pit to the muffin pans. Their goal is to fill up each muffin pan with one ball per slot. This activity is quite the task for a young toddler. However, older toddlers need more of a challenge. Older children can practice sorting the balls by color. For example, only blue balls can go in the first pan and only yellow balls can go in the second. They can also practice making patterns. For example, the balls must be put in the pan in alternating colors (blue, yellow, blue, yellow). The possibilities for this activity are endless.
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Who says you have to wait until Easter to go searching for colorful objects around the house? If you have a pack of ball pit balls, then you can do this activity all year round. What I love most about this activity is that it can easily be done both inside and outside depending on the weather.
This activity is simple. Take a selection of ball pit balls and hide them throughout in your home. You’ll want to make sure that your selection has a good variety of colors. Once all the balls have been hidden it’s time to let your children start searching for them. I’ve created an easy version and a challenging version for this activity as well. For younger children, simply let them search for the balls freely. For older children, I recommend having them follow simple commands when searching for balls. Start by asking them to find you balls of certain colors. For example, you would ask them to find you a blue ball. Then, you could ask them to bring you balls based on their placement. For example, you would ask them to bring you a ball that is underneath an object. You could even use this activity to practice numbers. For example, you could ask them to bring you three balls.
Practice responsibility with them
Ball pit balls are a great tool to provide endless amounts of fun. However, they can also be quite messy. That’s where this last activity comes in. This activity is less of a game and more of a way to help teach responsibility.
One of the biggest struggles I have with creating activities for my children is that I’m always left with a giant mess afterwards. Most of the time my daughter gets to have all of the fun and I get stuck doing all the work. Thankfully, this activity puts a stop to all of that. This activity provides children with an excellent opportunity to practice a bit of responsibility. In fact, it’s oftentimes their very first chore. I like to call it cleaning up their own toys!
In all seriousness, getting children to pick up their own toys is a challenge. Of course we would love it if they automatically did it on their own, but it just doesn’t work like that. It takes a bit of encouragement to get them to do it. That’s why I like to introduce this concept to them using a fun object like their ball pit balls. If you can turn clean up into more of a game and less of a chore, then you are much more likely to be successful. Here are a couple of different things I do with my one year old to encourage her to clean up her ball pit balls.
- We practice throwing by tossing them into the ball pit.
- I start another scavenger hunt by asking her to pick up all the yellow balls, then blue, etc.
- She gets to ride around in her car as long as she picks up the balls we pass by.
- We have a race to see who can pick up the most balls the fastest.