Several weeks ago, my one-year-old discovered the toilet plunger in the bathroom. I could not figure out why he was attracted to it, but most of the times that I would find my son sneaking into the bathroom, he would be squeezing his body into that small space between the toilet and the counter just so that he could touch the toilet plunger.
Instead of continuing to keep him away from the household toilet plunger (a long and exhausting task which got old really quickly), a very simple and obvious solution hit me: Just buy the kid his own toilet plunger.
Incidentally, this is the first "toy" that I've ever purchased for my son, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I've found, in these past few weeks, that toilet plungers really are one of the best gift items out there for toddlers.
The toilet plunger is a durable wooden toy.
Some people rave about wood as a choice material for children's toys. They'll swat away attractive store advertisements for plastic toys and drool over catalogs of Amish-made wooden cars or building blocks. Well, you'll be pleased to hear that the toilet plunger, though it contains a rubber suction on the end, is a wooden toy. That long wooden handle, unlike many plastic toys that are on the market, is sturdy, and it will fit right in with your child's collection of Melissa & Doug wooden animal toys.
Toilet plungers are affordable and easy to find.
Some toys are only carried at specialty stores or found online. If one doesn't have internet access or desire to spend hours poring through a specialty catalog, it can be tricky to look at the range of quality children's toys out there. Often, when you do find a good, quality toy, the price is significant. Not so with the toilet plunger. These gadgets can be easily purchased at local supermarkets for a few dollars. It's so simple!
Toilet plungers are fantastic in the teething stage.
Those toddler molars can be brutal, and I've found that it's far better to have my son gnawing on something other than my finger-like a toilet plunger! This household item is great for toddlers to bite as those molars cut through. This may concern some people, since it's not marketed as a "teething toy," but since the other major items that my toddler tries to teeth on are church pews and the bottoms of flip flops, I think that a toilet plunger isn't that bad of an option ;)
Toilet plungers are extremely versatile when entertaining toddlers.
A toilet plunger can become a cane, a drumstick, a magic wand, or a sword. The suction cup makes a perfect hat, too! Not only that, but toddlers can be entertained by moving the rubber flange in and out of the suction cup. Plus, these can make silly popping noises when plunged up and down on a wood floor. The ways to entertain a toddler with a toilet plunger are endless!
Toilet plungers satisfy toddlers during the "stick phase."
When my son was about 11 months old, he entered the "stick phase," and hasn't looked back. Twigs, large sticks, and tree branches fascinate him to no end. One time, he frantically crawled up to an old lady because he wanted to grab her cane (don't worry, I managed to whisk him away before he did any damage). Toilet plungers, with their long wooden handles, are a great toy for any child who spends his or her days playing with sticks.
Toilet plungers have a high replay value.
I like to get the most out of my money, so I really, really like it when toys and games can be played over and over again, preferably being used for many years. The toilet plunger has a fabulous replay value. Not only can it be used during toddlerhood, but it can be used as a toy for many years. Boys and girls often "play house" with kitchen utensils and fake food, and with a toilet plunger, they can expand their make-believe play to include the profession of plumbing! When these children become teens and later enter adulthood, the toilet plunger can move along through the years with them as they maintain their bathrooms (or protect themselves, as this woman in Oklahoma did). When the stuffed animals have fallen limp and board books have become battered and torn, the toilet plunger will still be standing strong.
Toilet plungers are a humble, unassuming household item, but we shouldn't let this lowly appearance keep us from embracing the endless possibilities they have in playrooms across the country. Plus, not only are toilet plungers great toys for children, but they are good for parents, too-I have often found myself deep in thought, walking across my living room with the toilet plunger. Switching it between hands, spinning it through the air, the toilet plunger is like a much more timeless, versatile version of the fidget spinner.
So the next time you're invited to a toddler's birthday party and you are out of gift ideas, consider the classic, fun, practical toilet plunger.