The 5 coolest toys that barely cost a thing

See how much fun these kids are having using a box? (WTOP File Photo)

WASHINGTON — The coolest toys don’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, some of the most basic household items have been known to inspire the most creative playtime for kids.

With that notion in mind, put together a list of the five best toys of all time, and parents might be pleased to know most of them can be found in the basement or the backyard.

The toy that tops the list is almost too simple: A stick. Not only is the stick required for a game of stickball, but they lend themselves to endless creativity because of the shapes and sizes they come in, like digging and poking. Added to that, they’re biodegradable, so a very green toy. And, they grow on trees.

Top toy number two, a box. Not only are boxes optimum for fort building, they also provide ideal hiding spots and can sometimes be manipulated into a costume. Or, use your stick and your box to make a boat complete with oars.

One of the great things about the third coolest toy of all time is that it can also be used with the first two: A string. Wrap a string around a stick, you’ve got a fishing rod. Tie one around a box, you’ve got a present.

Siblings can tie each other up with string, or they can play nice together and distract the cat. One note of caution: This toy is best reserved for older kids, as string can be dangerous in certain circumstances.

Cool toy number four has multiple uses: The cardboard tube. They come free with a roll of toilet paper, and serve as telescopes, megaphones and harmless swords. The biggest drawback of the cardboard tube is its lack of durability.

Finally, when all else fails, there’s always the age-old pastime of playing in the dirt. It may not be the top parent choice, but it’s been around as long as man and sometimes it’s just plain fun, Wired says. It’s great for digging and making piles. Plus, if you add water, you can make mud pies.

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