Winning Combinations: 10 New Ways to Play with Old Toys

Trending Now


Feel like you’ve been playing with the wooden blocks, stacker and shape sorter for too long? Spark creativity and give those old toys new life by pairing up things that don’t usually match. Much like peanut butter and pickles, some of these toy mix-ups sound crazy, but they work wonders at keeping a little one occupied. Try out one of these ten twists on toys the next time you’re stir crazy.


Photo: Jacob Martin via Flickr

Dominoes + Cars: Set up dominoes in a row, and they become the engine that makes a Matchbox car zoom across the floor. Crawlers will love chasing down speedy race cars.

Puppets + Blankets: Create an impromptu puppet show by draping a blanket over a chair. If you don’t have any puppets, grab a few stuffed animals and put together a teddy bear dance performance set to your little one’s favorite tunes.

Stacking Cups + Small Dolls: Slip small dolls or stuffed animals underneath stacking cups for an interactive game of toy hide-and-seek.


Photo: Etsy seller RueDesLouves

Walker + Board Books: A wooden walker, like this vintage model, becomes a rolling library when it’s stuffed with board books, or any of your little one’s favorite things. Note: we don’t recommend pushing around the family dog.

Muffin Tin + Duplos: Offer up a bowl full of LEGO Duplo bricks that can be placed one by one into the muffin tin, or scooped in with a measuring cup. Fill up the cups, dump out the Lego bricks, and repeat again and again.


Photo: Steve Betts via Flickr

Play Gym + Music Makers: If the charms of the play gym are wearing off, tie on a few new toys to mix it up. Musical toys, like rattles, bells, or shakers, are especially fun for little legs to kick around. Make sure ties are secure and stay close, to ensure no long strings get tangled around your baby.

Balls + Slide: Roll a soft ball down a slide and encourage your little one to catch it. Toddlers can push the ball down themselves, then clamber back up and do it all over again.

Yogurt + Paper: With a drop of food coloring, plain yogurt becomes the perfect medium for baby’s first finger paints. Since it’s completely edible, there’s no concern about your little one ingesting something he shouldn’t. Toddlers can try painting away with vanilla pudding. Just be ready for a little post-play bath, since little artists get messy!


Photo: David Goehring via Flickr

Cardboard Box + Anything: The classic cardboard box becomes a simple bin for babies to toss goodies into, a funny hat, a hiding spot, a bed for teddy, or a parking garage for toy vehicles. Boxes of all sizes and shapes offer endless chances to use existing toys in new ways.

Blocks + Play Dough: Pulling out the play dough and blocks (or DUPLO bricks) at the same time leads to awesome sculptures and fascinating textures. Little ones that stick everything in their mouths can use an edible play dough recipe like this one.

Tell us! What new and inventive games do you play with your baby? 

-Oz Spies

Welcome to our Tinybeans family!
Be sure to check your email for new activities, recipes and parenting hacks – and to see if you’ve won!








Enter to Win a $250 Gift Card!

Enter your email and zip code below for a chance to win a Mastercard Gift Card. We’ll pick one winner per month through August 31, 2022 – 5 lucky winners in all!

I agree to the official rules and to receive email communications from Tinybeans. By providing my email address, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.