Kids are busy and they constantly need new things to keep them entertained. But buying toys is expensive and they only play with them for like a minute. Recently, Alexie turned 10 months, and started to outgrow some of her toys, or has lost interest in them. I’m going to put a few away for awhile, but then I’ll need something different to give her. So I’ve decided to make a few toys myself. Here are some easy to make, and entertaining toys for little ones. They are totally Alexie approved and great on the wallet.
A box, some different strings and ribbons and a knife is all you need. Simply poke holes into one side of a box and thread through different lengths of random strings and ribbon. Knot both ends well and you’ve got a pull box. This is great for practising fine motor skills. It costs me nothing since I already had a wipe box and some scraps of ribbon.
This is a favourite around our house. I filled a few plastic easter eggs with different things from the kitchen, like rice, dried beans and legumes and even chocolate chips. Then I closed them and sealed them with some good strong packing tape. Different fillings make different sounds which are always exciting. Alexie loves her shakers so much that it’s one of my go-to toys when she’s in a bad mood. The cost was free since I had a few leftover from easter and I just used whatever I had on hand as filler.
Alexie’s at the age where she wants to empty everything. So why not let her! I grabbed an old purse (made sure it was completely empty) and filled it with random things from around the house. I put things like a face cloth, her slippers, a few toys, a plastic cup and bowl and a wooden spoon. Then I handed her the bad and let her have at it. She was entertained for about half an hour. The size and weight of the bag make a big difference. I used a large bag that wouldn’t stay open so she had to lift it and struggle to get things out, which made it more of a challenge for her. A free activity again, since It was all stuff I already had.
Need something that will keep them entertained for a while? Then a rice bin is perfect. Simply pour some uncooked rice into a large container or bin, add some measuring cups, spoons, and plastic containers and you are good to go. But this might get a little messy. We actually use a large storage bin and pull Alexie in it, to minimize the mess. It’s also harder for her to dump all 8 kilograms of rice. As long as it stays clean and dry, it’ll last a good long while.
This one cost me a little since I had to buy some rice. I got some on sale for $10 bucks for an 8-kilogram bag. I used things around the house like containers and spoons.
There are so many versions of these. Some involve water or mineral oil, while other don’t. I made one that just has different items in it, following a theme. This theme is yellow and it contains buttons, beads, ribbon, string, a decorative butterfly, pompoms and other random little things that I found around the house. Just seal the top with a little glue and you’ve got a great toy. Again, this cost me nothing since I used an old Gatorade bottle and filled it little bits that were around the house. I made a second with some water, food colouring, a few beads and some mineral oil.
These are simple books, often made from felt that have little activities on them. Sometimes it’s matching velcro shapes, or moving beads along a string, braiding or tying shoe laces. They sometimes require some skill with a sewing machine but they are great and since they are quiet, they are perfect to take with you to restaurants or church. This one cost me a little in material since I didn’t have any felt but I was able to get that and a few little extras like buttons and velcro from the dollar store for less than $10.
Have you seen these?! You can buy them but a small board (about the size of a sheet of paper and only 6 things) can go for over $30 bucks. I made this one using supplies from a dollar store and a leftover piece of plywood. I gathered different things like light switches, locks, zippers, wheels, and glued or screwed them onto the board. It can either be mounted somewhere in your house or we pull it out and lay it flat on the floor for her to play with. This one cost me a little more. I spent around $50 on supplies but it was totally worth it since Alexie spent the entire shopping trip playing with the parts and totally loves it now that it’s built. And it has almost a dozen activities on it.
Boxes and Bags
Ever heard the saying, “Forget the gift, kids would rather play with the box?” Well, it is certainly true. If I ever get a box, I usually give it to Alexie for a day or two. Same thing goes for gift bags (only if they are a little torn or banged up, otherwise I would reuse it.) Chances are the box or bag will be destroyed but it give her so much fun and it would have gone in the trash anyways. She puts her toys and balls in them, hides in them, dumps things out of them. It’s entertaining and totally free!