Have you ever brought home a toy in a big box? Some toys take a while to put together and by the time you are done, guess what? The big box has become the toy of the day. We all have had this happen when our kids were little. You have so many things around the house that can be made into creative and imaginative toys. Your kids can help make a lot of them and also decorate them!
One easy toy can be made from the Styrofoam trays that come with the packaged meat you buy at the grocery store. You can easily make a model plane. You cut out the body, wings and tail sections from the trays. Using a knife, cut slits in the body for the wings and tail. If wanted, your kids can decorate the plane. The wings and tail are easily slid into the slits. Once it is all done, they can toss it in the air and watch it soar! Airplanes can easily be made of paper and decorated too. These easy toys will give kids pride in their accomplishment and build their confidence for future projects.
Another great DIY toy is a puzzle. Have your kids draw or color a picture. The artwork can then be glued to cardboard. When it is dry, trace puzzle pieces on the back. Or if you don't want to use glue, they could do the picture directly on the cardboard. Carefully cut out the pieces, and their handmade puzzle is ready to be worked. When they are done playing with it, the puzzle pieces can be stored in a Ziploc bag.
You can also make stacking, shape or color sorting toys from cardboard. For a stacking toy, cut the cardboard into different shapes and sizes. Kids can then stack the shapes starting with the largest to the smallest. Many different shapes can be cut so they will learn them as they are stacking. Have your kids make the shapes different colors and then match the colors into piles. This is an inexpensive way to make learning toys for your kids. They will have lots of fun while learning shapes and colors. Counting can also be incorporated while they are playing with the pieces.
Do you like the beanbag toss game? There are several ways to make one. Cut a hole in a cardboard box big enough for the beanbag to fit. You could cut different sized holes for different levels of difficulty. If you don't have boxes, try different sized baskets, pans or shoe boxes. Make your beanbags. Most are made from material filled with beans. You can also use double bagged Ziploc sandwich bags. Don't have beans? Try macaroni or other small pasta. Your child can decorate the target box and add points to the holes if you are going to keep score. They will have a great time tossing bean bags while developing their motor and social skills.
There are many ways to use multiple cardboard boxes. These boxes can be found at retail stores. Several stacked two wide and high (or more) can make a doll house, stuffed animal or toy storage. Spread several out in a line and you have a train. Large ones can be a walk-in house for toddlers. And they are always good for hide-and-seek games.
The nice thing about these projects is when your kids tire of them, they can be broken down and recycled. This way you don't have to worry about that unused expensive toy sitting in the corner. Through constructing and playing with the toys, your children are learning and developing many skills which they will use in school and beyond. It is important to instill creativity and imagination in your children's activities while they are young. We all want well-adjusted, smart and happy children.