Yes my children have toys. But they often get bored of those. Here are some non-toys that get more use than anything we have ever purchased.
  1. A tube from an Ikea carpet
    I got a carpet and it was wrapped tightly around a long tube made of very hard cardboard. If I had known how much use we would get out of this tube I would have gone to Ikea just to purchase the tube and have the carpet be an afterthought. We shoot marbles through it. We use it as a didgeridoo. We play broken telephone with it. Best recycling ever.
  2. A display model phone
    I think my mother-in-law convinced a store to let my toddler have an old phone that never worked. We use it regularly to "call grandma".
  3. An empty spice container
    My son likes to cook so naturally when I run out of something I see if we can keep the container for him to play with. The big plastic jars are great for his play kitchen but also for fill and spill games for him.
  4. IKEA cooking utensils
    From sauce mixers to measuring spoons, I usually pick these up to entertain him while we are shopping in the store but he ends up keeping them.
  5. Boxes
    Ah the classic box. These are for hiding in, turning into car garages or transforming into robot costumes.
  6. Grabber
    My son was fascinated by the one at his great grandmother's house, so my husband got him one. Best thing ever, once he learned how to use it, of course. (It was a painful leaning curve).
  7. Egg cartons
    Obviously these are great for crafts but we have used them to make mini paint palettes for art time (so he doesn't waste a whole tube of paint), or just for pretend play in his play kitchen (he has a thing for eggs).