18 July 2006

Poker chips: raw material for creative play

Rosemary has discovered the endless fun that comes when you put a toddler in front of a set of poker chips.

Just the other day my husband bought a set of poker chips. At home my 16 month-old son started playing with the box. Soon enough they were all over the place and he was having a blast. These chips are his new favorite toy!

At his age I have been having trouble getting him interested in playing with one thing for more than a few minutes. He will sit down and play with poker chips for an hour! They are great for his age as they are not breakable, are multicolored, great for stacking, knocking down, putting in the box or holder, sorting out, or just to place around the house. If a few get lost it doesn't end the fun because there are so many, and we only paid $25 for a set of 300! He has his own box of 100 chips and absolutely loves them!

We, too, have poker chips and I second her enthusiasm -- they are perfect fodder for creative play and experimentation. Younger kids love the tactile fun, older kids like to use chips as "money" or props in more elaborate scenes, and Mom and Dad can play a few rounds of five-card stud after the kids are in bed. Suggestion: spring for the good-quality chips that feel good in your hands, make a satisfying "click" and stack nicely.

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poker chips work well.. so do dominoes, cards, any collection of the same thing. and when you get past the choking worry phase they like dice, and pocket change.

Another cool use for poker chips is to use them for retrieving from the bottom of swimming pool, instead of coins (which can stain the pool bottom). They are colorful and fun to try to catch on the way down!

we used dried black beans for this kind of toy and our son loved them. Cleanup was not so fun, and we often joked that we needed to swap them out for butter beans but never got around to it. The beans went "bye-bye" recently after a probing toddler finger explored the bean/nostril/size relationship a little too vigorously. That wouldn't happen with bigger beans, though.

My oldest child loved poker chips when he was two years old. Problem was cleaning them up. Since they come in such large numbers, they would end up every where in the house. I actually just found some in the basement recently.

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