Have Fun Making Homemade Toys


Connie Goldin ©2011, Mom to Madre

Just two generations ago, children grew up without all of the toys, gadgets, electronics and organized play that children are accustomed to today. Girls had dolls and skates and boys had Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets. Of course there were puzzles, books, electric trains, and such, but most kids didn’t have the treasure troves of stuff that many families have today. We were expected to go outside to play and we also spent time reading, riding bikes and having time together as a family.

Recently I had the challenge to think about helping families who lacked the resources to have toys in their homes. My job was to think how the families could use objects already in their homes to teach their preschoolers the skills they needed to enter kindergarten-shapes, numbers, letters, counting, colors, vocabulary, sensory awareness, and developed motor skills, to name a few.

I was excited to see what I could find and recycle as educational toys from my own home. I gave myself one rule-no purchases. I started looking through kitchen drawers and tried to imagine how toddlers and preschoolers could play with the items I normally have on hand. I confess that I bought Contact paper to spruce up my toy tub, but everything else was just stuff from my kitchen, garage, garden and recycling bin.

Here is what I compiled:

Paper bags, boxes, tubes and packing paper can all be reused creatively.
Box flaps, packing paper from a box and twine make a charming book for adding letters and numbers.
Everyday ingredients for making paste and playdough.
Pasta and rice add texture to playdough and art work.
Pour, fill, empty, splash and have fun with water.
Introduce your children to lovely smells, such as clove, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Use cheese cloth or coffee filters and twine to make homemade sachets for the kids to smell.
A cat litter container makes a great toy tub.
The toy tub contains kitchen items and homemade blocks that can be used to teach shapes and colors. Note the oven mitt which can be a puppet.

One of the most important things that parents can do is spend time with their children. Kids relish having their parents’ attention. A loving home that focuses on the needs of the children is far more important than having possessions. Reading, telling stories, singing, dancing and laughing with children is a much greater treasure that any object could ever be. Making toys with kids is an activity that the entire family can participate in and enjoy.

Here are some wonderful resources on the Internet for families with young children:

What can your preschooler do while you make potato soup? By Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Teach Preschool

Thanks to Deborah for the great ideas of using painter’s tape to make shapes and getting wooden blocks from construction sites.

10 Activities to Do With Infants By Play2Grow Blogspot

Flowers and Fairies Sensory Tub By The Imagination Tree

Brown Grocery Bag Crafts By Enchanted Learning

Make A Recycle Toy Play House By PLANETPALS

The Benefits of Nursery Rhymes By Early Childhood News Network

Bookmaking By Pre-KPages

Print Friendly

One Response to “Homemade Toys”

  1. Shara, Reply

    Great post, Miss Connie! You have wonderful and fun ideas 🙂 Thank you for linking to the ECE Music Guide, also.

Leave a Reply