From video games to playing cards, you can extend the life of your games and toys. Follow these quick tips to prevent buying new toys for your kids at the first sign of wear.
Rubber Ducky, You’re the (Moldy) One
It’s gross, but true: Your child’s floating bath toys (the kinds with a hole in the bottom) are likely filled with allergy-causing mold. Even if you squeeze out the toys after every bath, some moisture remains and can cause mold build-up. To avoid this problem in the first place, seal the hole of a brand-new toy with hot glue. That way, water will never be able to penetrate it in the first place. To clean older toys, soak them in a solution of one cup of bleach mixed with one gallon of warm water for an hour or two to release the mold. Then scrub them, rinse, and allow to dry completely before sealing.
Video Game Strategy
If your kids love video games, try to buy games that can be played over and over (such as puzzle games) rather than ones that aren’t fun once you “win” them—you’ll go a lot longer before you start hearing requests to buy a new game! When you finally do cave, make sure to buy used games whenever possible.
Get the Bounce Back in an Old Rubber Ball
Almost all soft rubber balls, including tennis balls, can be brought back to life by spending a night in the oven with only the pilot light on. The heat causes the air inside the ball to expand. Just be sure to remove the balls before you turn the oven on!
Get the Dents Out of a Ping-Pong Ball
To get the balls round again, fill a jar to the brim with warm water, then place the balls inside and close the lid so that they’re submerged. In twenty minutes or less, the water’s pressure will make them pop back into place.
If you have an electronic toy whose batteries are loose due to a missing spring, don’t throw it away or pay to get it fixed. Simply ball up a small amount of aluminum foil and put it in the spring’s place. The aluminum will conduct electricity in lieu of the spring.
Time to Clean Teddy
To clean stuffed animals, just place them in a cloth bag or pillowcase, add baking soda or cornmeal, and shake. The dirt will transfer to the powder.
Nothing needs a cleaning more than your child’s best-loved doll. Luckily, this way to clean them is so fun your kid will want to help you! Wash the plastic faces of dolls by smearing peanut butter on them, then wiping off. The oils in the butter seep into the plastic, removing every last bit of grime.
De-Grease Sticky Playing Cards
An oft-used deck of cards can get sticky and grimy from the oils on our hands. De-grease the cards by placing them in a plastic bag with a few blasts of baby powder. Give it a good shake before dealing the first hand.
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