5 Things My Toddler Wants To Play With Instead of Toys

My son doesn’t want to play with any of his toys. I think if we had no toys at all and just a bin full of random, but highly dangerous, objects, he would never be bored again. Barring that (since Mommy hasn’t totally lost her mind . . . yet), he’ll settle for wandering aimlessly, bypassing all the bright, shiny, (and unreasonably expensive) toys we’ve bought him until he finds something that strikes his fancy. And, whatever it is, you can be sure it’s one of two things: dangerous or gross.

Here, for your amusement (and his too, apparently), are 5 things my toddler wants to play with instead of toys.

1. Electrical outlets

Preferably if they are unprotected and Mommy is careening across the room still holding the cucumber he won’t eat but she insists on offering him, and screaming “donttouchthatdonttouchthatdonttouchthat!!” and slipping in milk that leaked out of his sippy cup even though the stupid things are supposed to be spill proof. But, even when Mommy has her act together and has conscientiously covered all the outlets, they are still enormously fun in a variety of ways. Including, but not limited to, trying to pry the outlet covers off (with more focus and attention than he applies to anything else), and declaring they are buttons and punching his hand into the wall over and over again.

2. Garbage cans

Perhaps it’s the element of mystery. What’s in there? There could be any number of interesting things. And, instead of being disappointed when he discovers there’s only a moldy banana peel, a dried out ball point pen and a sticky soda cup inside, he is, in fact, confirmed in his hypothesis that a garbage can is a treasure trove of riches. Not to mention that some trash cans come equipped with fascinating lids with little doors that can be pushed back and forth, releasing a stream of bees which will fly blissfully by him and sting Mommy. And nearly all of them have thick, crinkly garbage bags inside which he can almost always get a swipe at before Mommy yanks his hand away muttering, “why do you always want to play with garbage cans!”


3. The lock on the front door

Who needs toys when you can flick the deadbolt back and forth forty-two million times in a row? And, honestly, the look on Mommy’s face as she stares wordlessly at him, her head in her hands, her teeth grinding to a pulp in her mouth as the sound of that lock clicking and clicking and clicking reverberates across her very soul, makes it so much more fun. Not to mention the fact that sometimes, Mommy forgets to make sure the door is still locked after he has finally scampered off to play (probably because she has now been reduced to a babbling idiot), leaving our home vulnerable to all manner of intruders and feral animals (who, in Mommy’s mind, are mutants who know how to open doors) which is incredibly fun to contemplate.

4. The computer

In his defense (I suppose), typing probably does look a lot like randomly smacking all the buttons on the keyboard. But, when Mommy does it, only boring words show up on the screen. When he does it, all kinds of pictures and shapes and colors happen. And there’s a picture of a garbage can which, while not as cool as the real thing, is fun to drag everything into and press “delete all” with a precision of fine motor skills he has never displayed before and will not display again for another five years. Not to mention the sounds that come out of the computer sometimes and/or the sounds that come out of Mommy.

5. Keys

No cheap plastic substitute will do. Only the metal, eye-gouging kind for this toddler. And it isn’t enough to scratch long, horror movie-esque lines down the paint in the wall while pretending to unlock the door, he must also drop them on the floor repeatedly from great heights “by accident.” Licking them when Mommy isn’t looking is also a favorite pastime as is somehow loosening them on the keyring just enough so that they look fine but then fly off in a sort of key explosion into the hallway just as the elevator doors are closing with you inside.


Ah, motherhood. Excuse me, I think I hear a feral animal trying to open the door. Hopefully he’s come to return my keys.