Homemade toys

How often have you seen this happen during the holidays? Parents have spent a small fortune on the latest and greatest toy. After a few smiles and giggles, the parents remove the toy from its huge box and proceed to assemble it. Meanwhile, the boy finds the box quite fascinating. When the toy is fully assembled, the child is so engrossed in the box that he has no desire to play with the expensive toy.

This scenario is repeated at home after home across the country. The lesson is that children are easily entertained and homemade toys can be created from everyday materials that can easily hold their attention. Here are some ideas to create homemade toys easily.

One idea for a homemade toy is a cardboard box car. Take a large cardboard box and cut a hole in the top and cut out the bottom. Decorate it like a car, using paper plates for the wheels and the steering wheel. Your child will enjoy “driving” this car around the house!

Create a handmade bubble blower from a toilet paper roll. Wrap the roll with aluminum foil. Make the bubbles by mixing liquid dish soap with water. Dip one end of the roll into the mixture and blow gently on the other end. You should be able to easily create very large bubbles!

Create a scooping ball game with a quart plastic milk jug. Cut the jug in half and save the side with the handle. Throw a ball back and forth and use the pitcher to catch the ball.

Model airplanes can be made from the Styrofoam trays in which the meat is packed. Cut out the shape of the body, wings, and tail. Use a knife to make an indentation in the body for the wings and tail. Because styrofoam is so light, these planes can fly a decent distance.

A personalized homemade toy is the homemade puzzle. Have your child create a drawing or other work of art. Glue the artwork to a piece of cardboard. Once it is dry, turn the cardboard over and trace the shapes of the puzzle pieces. Carefully cut out these shapes. Your child will have fun putting together his own work of art. Store the puzzle in a Ziploc bag.

A homemade bean bag toss game is another fun and active toy to create. Take a sturdy piece of cardboard and cut holes for the targets. Make sure the holes are big enough to fit the bean bag. Then make some beanbags. Take pieces of material and fill them with beans or pasta. Sew them by hand to close them. Have your child decorate the target and assign points to the holes. So have fun throwing the beanbags at the target!

Whichever toy you decide to make, be sure to include your child in the toy-making process. Not only will it create a fun toy, but it will also create lifelong memories with your child. Using junk to make a fun toy also helps protect our environment.