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Toys Money Can and Cannot Buy

By Melody Tan 2 min read
Monday, January 22, 2018

Toys Money Can Buy

LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon



LEGO and Star Wars. What more could little (and not-so-little) boys—and girls—want? With 7500 pieces, it’s one of the biggest and most detailed LEGO models ever created. Hours of fun. Just don’t lose track of the pieces or you’ll be wishing you splurged on extra-padded slippers during middle-of-the-night toilet runs.

Swarovski Crystals-Encrusted Etch-a-Sketch



This classic toy gets a facelift—and some bling—with 14,400 hand-set Swarovski crystals. These are limited-edition models however, so you may have a bit of trouble laying your hands on one for your child.

Ride-On Giraffe



Every child loves riding on something: a pony, a bicycle, your shoulders . . . so why not cultivate their love for this graceful African mammal with a life-size (240-centimetre tall) version? It holds up to 70 kilograms, so you'll get your money's worth since it’ll be some time before they grow out of this toy.

Carnival Carousel



Going to a fun fair may not be your idea of fun: getting the kids ready for an entire day out, the crowd, potential meltdowns . . . so why not take the stress out of your life by bringing the fun fair to your home? There’s even space for two of your child’s favourite friends to ensure they stay socialised.

Toys Money Can't Buy

Giant cardboard box


Technically, it’ll probably cost a fair bit to purchase the product that comes in a cardboard box big enough to contain a small child, but considering it (the box, not the child) would otherwise be destined for the recycle bin, this comes pretty close to being free. 

Draw some doors and windows, cut out some holes and voilà, cubby house.

DIY baby toys


Let’s face it. As mothers, we probably have a bunch of inspirational ideas for DIY toys saved on Pinterest with absolutely no time to make them. But there are dried beans in an empty plastic bottle that can serve as a rattle, baking trays that work as drums, and babies can spend a surprisingly long time repeatedly removing and putting the lid back on an empty container.

Butcher’s paper


Your local butcher would probably be happy to spare a few sheets of butcher’s paper that you can use to “wallpaper” the bottom half of your walls and doors at home. Then give your child a crayon and let them unleash their inner Picasso without fear of permanently marking your walls.

Homemade Playdough


Their colours get irreversibly mixed, they dry up and while they’re labelled as non-toxic, you probably don’t want your child eating any of that stuff. So you could pay $2 a tub for readymade Play-Doh, or mix some flour, salt, water and food colouring, and end up with a product that doesn’t hurt as much when you throw it out or consume it (still not advisable).

Melody Tan is project manager of the Mums At The Table multimedia initiative. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their preschooler son.