As a SAHM, I believe firmly in the power of DIY toys! Any toy that has been homemade by me counts for way more in my books than one that has been bought by me. Since they are generally made from stuff I would have thrown away anyway, they are usually super cheap to make and when they get boring or broken you can throw them out and make something new. You don’t have to look back with regret wishing that you hadn’t spent so much money on a toy that lasts for a short while.
Here is a look at the toys I made for N while he was between the ages of 3 – 12 months old. Not everything was a hit – you win some, you loose some. Somethings he ended up playing with in a totally different way than what I intended, but that’s ok too. Also, some things were quite quick to make and some others took quite a while.
Rattles (Various Shapes and Sizes)
These were easy to make and N loved playing with them – in fact, he still does! I just organised little containers and some fun things to put inside them: rice, pasta, lentils and buttons. Then I sealed the box with sticky tape so that nothing would come out by accident.
This was one of the first toys that I made for N. He played with it from before he could sit (probably from about 3 and a half months) and it used to keep him busy for ages. Just thread different types of ribbon through an old lid and tie big knots on the ends of the ribbons. It’s easy for them to manipulate and hold. This was an absolute winner in our house!
N started being able to drop things into containers when he was about 10 months old, so this has been a hit since then. Simply collect old lids from milk bottles, peanut butter jars, spray and cook cans etc and put them into an old tissue box. Easy Peasy!
Pom-Pom Egg Box
I’m not sure that this game has a point, but N loves taking the pom-poms out of the little holes in an egg box and putting them back in different places. Whatever the point is, it keeps him busy and it is great for fine motor skills.
This was also fairly popular when N was quite small, I’d say around 5 months old. I filled a laminating pouch with little craft goodies like buttons and shiny sequins etc. and then topped it up with hair gel and sealed the edges. I made two of these. The nicer one started leaking because we didn’t seal a thick enough section on the sides so we had to throw that one away. This one has held well but unfortunately, the wooden buttons have been loosing their colour over time. This has changed the colour of the gel to a horrible brown! Well, lucky I feel nothing about throwing it away!
Pipe Cleaner Discovery Bottle
This is one of the latest toys I have made for N. It’s great for fine motor work again. N spent a long time with this one trying to put the lid on the bottle before he actually started trying to put the pipe cleaners inside. He is not very keen on this toy, but it’s ok for a couple of minutes.
Again, N isn’t very keen on this toy. I think it’s because he hasn’t mastered the skill yet, but they are growing in popularity as he becomes more able to put the sticks into the tub.
We have had this toy around the house for a long time. It has only recently (I’d say around 8 months) become a hit since he has started learning how to put things into and out of a container. This one is really fun and great for fine motor skills.
I made this book for N and it was by far the toy that took the longest to make. It has his name on the front and each page has a number on it with a corresponding number of items on the page next to it. (For example – A big number 4 on the left page and 4 teddies on the right) It also has all the shapes on the back page and a page full of googly eyes. I think that is his favourite page! This toy needs extra supervision because of all the small pieces that he can pull off. I never let him play with this toy unsupervised.
Quiet Time Books is a Durban company that hand makes felt books like this, only WAY more beautifully. They are hand crafted with love! We are going to be working on a competition together in the near future, so watch this space for an awesome prize! You can click on the image to take you to their Facebook page
N loves playing with his DIY toys. They are always met with loads of concentration and excitement. He has a good time playing with them. The best part for me is that I won’t have tons of old toys laying around my house in a couple of years time.
Do you make any toys for your children? If you do, let me know in the comments below.