Friday, May 15, 2009

Frugal Family Fun...Making Your Own Toys

I have only purchased a few toys for my son brand new. The rest have come from garage sales, Craig's list or given to him as gifts. But I'll be honest his favorite toys aren't 'toys' or they are things I've made. You don't even have be crafty at all to make a few toys. Below are a few of our favorite "non toys" around our parts.

Kitchen pots and pans

When I'm cooking I'll give my toddler a spoon, whisk, measuring cups or whatever I'm not using and let him play around in old pots and pans. He loves being able to cook and he'll often come over and offer me a taste of something. If I'm really feeling adventurous I'll add a bit off water to his pots.

Stackers and Shakers

Fill a container with what every you desire. I've filled mine with various things that make different sounds rice, pasta, cornmeal, bells, beads, fuzzy pom poms, ribbon. Make sure you super glue the lid on tight to prevent anything going into your child's mouth. Cottage cheese or large yogurt containers make perfect "blocks" for stacking. I cut out pictures of magazines and taped them to the container then I covered them with clear packing tape. It adds to some life to the plain white containers.

Wipe Containers and Milk Carton lids, Orange Juice lids

My son has so much fun putting things in and taking them out of these container. I guess it's what Toddler's do best. This is one of our car toys and I can easily add new stuff as we find them. Leaves, sticks and rocks often find their way into the container.

I spy books

Create little I spy books for your child by making a collage of pictures from magazines or from the advertisements in Sunday's paper (this is what I used). If you child has a special love for something try to hide it through out the pages of the book. If you want your book to last cover it in contact paper. This is a great road trip book as your child can find various things as you are driving.

Cardboard boxes

I loved cardboard boxes as a child, the creativity you can have with a simple box is too fun. Occasionally I let me son have the diaper box and he loves getting in and out of it and putting things inside. Once he gets a little older the creativity is limitless of what the box can be used for.

After seeing how much he loved playing with the kitchen at the church nursery I decided to create his own kitchen by using a card board box. I simply covered it with a paper bag. Cut out a door and added a little handle. He now has his own microwave. Rather than buy him a kitchen I simply used a permanent marker and drew a couple burners on a plastic bin that holds all the extra toys that are hiding. Simple, easy and I didn't have to spend any money to make it.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble Wrap is another fun toy for kids, but please closely monitor your kids at all times when playing with bubble wrap. Some favorite things to do with bubble wrap around our house is to walk on it. My toddler loves running across it. If you don't want your child to pop it with their feet tape it to the table and give them a few cars to drive across it.


The fun never grows old with balloons. Whether you are playing keep it up, soccer, creating a little static or putting them in front of a fan, you're sure to have a ton of fun. I like to keep a package around the house for rainy days.

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! I love that little microwave. And the stove! You are so very creative!You are so right on with your toy round-up. Those have been all the favourites of all 4 of my kids over the years!


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