Let's face it! Purchasing fun and creative toys for kids today can be very expensive. Also there is a lot of peer pressure on parents to buy the latest and greatest toy which will help develop their kids skills. So, what can parents do? There are a lot of DIY options which will help kids with creativity, motor skills, eye-hand skills and social skills. Kids can help make the toys and decorate them!
A very simple toy is making a ball. All you need is a used grocery bag and newspaper or shredded paper. Kids can wad up the newspaper or shredded paper and stuff it into the bag. The bag can then be tied tightly and you have a light-weight ball that can be played with by kids of all ages. Need a basket for shooting? Find an old box, bucket or wastebasket. Kids can decorate them with crayons, paint or cut-out pictures. Or it would be safe to kick the ball around the house, too. Not only do kids enjoy making it, but have lots of fun playing with their own basketball or kick ball!
Does your child need a bed or cradle for dolls? Old boxes are great for this. Kids can decorate the box and make it their own. An old towel or pillow case can be used as bedding. Parents can help shape the box into a bed by cutting the sides down. For a cradle, parents can also round off the bottom corners for the rocking effect. Old baby clothes and blankets can be used for the dolls, too. This will create a lot of imaginative play for kids.
Do you have a sturdy old box? If so, it can be made into a car or walking/push toy. Here again, kids can decorate the outside of the car. If needed, parents can cut the sides down some, helping the kids get in and out of the car easily. Paper plates can be used for the tires, headlights and steering wheel. An older child or an adult can be the engine and push them around. When they are done playing "car" they could put their toys in it and push them around. It makes a nice storage place, too.
A quick and easy outdoor toy that all kids love is making a bubble blower. Take a paper towel or toilet paper roll and cover it with tin foil. Make the bubble solution out of dish soap and water. Kids can then dip one end in the water and blow through the tube and create bubbles. How easy is that! And we know how much fun it is for the kids!
You can take old milk cartons to make a ball-toss game. Cut the carton in half and use it for the basket. The top half with the handle can also be used to catch tossed balls. This not only gives kids good exercise outdoors, but helps develop hand-eye coordination, motor skills and balance. This is all done while the kids are having lots of fun.
A lot of things we store in our cabinets and don't use can be become bathtub toys. Tin cups, plastic measuring cups, soap dishes and even styrofoam meat trays become boats. A cup can be used as a waterfall to sink the boats. Underwater boats become submarines which can sink other boats and the war is on! There's so much imaginative play that is done in a tub of water! Add some bubbles and you have even more fun! When it's time to get out of the tub, kids don't even associate getting "clean" with all the playing time, making this a fun time rather than a "have to" routine.
These are just a few things which can be done as DIY projects with your kids. When your kids grow tired of the toys, or outgrow them, they can easily be put into recycling bins. Parents will also be making wonderful life-long memories with their kids.