Have you ever spent good money on a fabulous toy only to have your child play for hours with the box? Children are naturally creative and have fantastic imaginations. They can make toys out of anything.
When I was a child some of my favorite toys were the ones I made myself. My parents did not have a lot of money, so we had to make do with the basics. Still my mom was really great at encouraging us to make our own toys.
- Why don’t you make a puppet theater out of this box?
- Do you think you could turn this shoe box into a dolls house?
I would spend hours and hours making puppets and crafting doll’s houses.
I love this kind of open-ended play.
- It stimulates the imagination.
- Helps children solve problems
- And discover that they can make their own fun
- It is also really inexpensive.
A few weeks back I saw a great post from P is For Preschooler about making toys from shoe boxes. It inspired me to put together my own list of toys that children can make for themselves.
Most of these projects are really simple, but there are a few that may need some adult assistance. They would all make great family projects – hint-hint.
I love these flying helicopters from Babble Dabble Do. They are really simple to make and kids love them.
Another simple flying toy are these paper straw airplanes. They are easy to make and work really well.
Then there is Lego
Frugal Fun For Boys has loads of ideas for making toys out of Lego. Encourage your children to try making a zip line for their Lego people
If you want something a little more challenging try a rubber band powered Lego car?
For more inspiration take a look at the Ultimate Sock Puppet book by Tiger Kandel
Make your own board game
Do your children like board games? Why not invite them to make their own. This is something I did when I was a kid. It would keep me occupied for ages!
Gardening Without Skills explains how she helped her older children make their own game.
Using Cardboard boxes
Handmade Charlotte has an inspiring post about making doll’s houses and furniture from cardboard boxes.
Then of course there is the post that inspired me to go looking for toy making ideas. Look at all the toys that can be made from shoe boxes.
If your children enjoy playing with cars why not give them a roll of road tape and let them create a system or roads on the floor.
If you have some spare boxes you could also make a city.
This homemade wigglebot caught my eye. It looks really cool and would really impress your kids. I mentioned it to a few tweens at our library and they gave an enthusiastic thumbs up. We are hoping to make some in the fall. This is a project that will probably need some adult assistance.
I’d love to hear from you. What toys did you make when you were a child? What toys would you like to see your children make?