Some days I have some fun activity planned for A & S. And some days we just do instructured free play.
I truly love listening & sneaking glimpse at the kids when they are playing. (I try not to interrupt too much when I can help it.) There is so much (& researched backed) that they are learning through play.
Cardboard boxes have always been a big hit with us (see activities like Bulldozer), but they don’t always need to be elaborate creations. Lately A & S & friends have been using simple boxes for tons of imaginary play. This includes: speed boats, restaurant, trains, spaceships, etc.
We have also been reducing the number of toys that are out at a given time. This has worked wonders for A & S too actually focus & play with their toys.
We have brought out at different times (& then put others away) our big foam blocks, marble run, wooden train tracks, etc. And there are always a few toys that stay out. And even simple toys are used in new ways.
And there are times that store bought things are not needed.