Before you buy something new, try making your own homemade toys for babies and kids. From mobiles and sensory boards to puzzles, you can make many easy DIY projects that your baby will love!
Most parents know what it’s like to accumulate a volume of toys that your kids forget about. And most of those toys aren’t helping them learn about shapes or develop their math skills. That’s where these easy homemade toys come into play! You don’t need a special kit or any artsy ability to make them, and you can probably make them from items you already have in a cabinet or drawer. Here are some of our favorite options that will make playtime especially fun. Be sure to share your own toy ideas on your favorite family app!
How Do You Make Homemade Toys for Toddlers and Infants?
When it comes to homemade toys, simplicity is key! A toddler might even be more entertained banging around with pots and pans in the kitchen than by the newest flashy toy. So when you’re making a toy, use it as a way to inspire them as they explore.
Almost anything, whether it’s a box, a stick, or even plastic utensils, can be a way to spark the imagination. So use that sense of wonder as a way to incorporate ingenuity into your child’s educational toys. A few simple materials like white poster board, tape, and scissors can be a great starting point to create educational crafts. Try one of these unique learning toys today!
What Are Some Educational DIY Toys for Babies?
There are plenty of options for educational toys that you don’t have to go out and buy. Skip the store and get your little one to help with the following simple crafts (especially with decorating). Share your own crafts with others on FamilyApp!
- Tissue Pull Box – We love this idea from Jess at @atticus.and.poppy. Start with a recycled box and glue an old wipes lid to the top. Cut a hole in the lid compartment, and add some colorful rhythm scarves. This is a great way to develop those fine motor skills, and is a much better idea than pulling from the actual box of wipes!
- Shake it Up! – Rattles and noise-makers are one of the easiest DIY toys you can make! Use cylindrical cardboard like a paper towel roll or toilet paper tube and cut the tops off. Put different objects in each one you make, like dry rice or beans. Re-cover, secure with contact paper and tape, and have your infant rattle to their heart’s content. If you have a toddler or older child, have them help with the project by filling the containers or decorating on the outside.
- Black & White Mobile – In order for babies to notice patterns before they’re two months old, they need to have a distinct contrast- so a black and white mobile is perfect for that! Cut out pictures or patterns and attach them to some poster board, hanging them by a string onto an embroidery hoop. You can use any number of fun materials like pom-poms, lightweight toys, and even natural materials. Just be sure the mobile is sturdy and high above the baby’s head so they can’t accidentally touch it and pull it down!
What Are Good Sensory DIY Toys for Babies and Toddlers?
- Sensory Tunnel – Why buy an expensive play tunnel when you have a perfectly good box in the garage? We love this idea featuring Luca over at @learnwithluca! She lined the bottom for some shiny tin foil, poked lights through the top, hung rhythm scarves, and dangled pom-poms. However, there are plenty of other things you can include! Your little one will love crawling and exploring!
- Book of Shapes – All you need is some leftover felt, glue, and a pair of scissors to make this shape book for your child! Start by cutting out felt pages and then apply other cutouts like squares, circles, and rectangles. You can also use different materials like denim, cotton, carpet scraps, tin foil, or craft papers with different textures.
- Sensory Box – It’s a fact: babies love boxes. With sensory boxes, it’s difficult to stop them from putting everything in their mouth. And while materials like uncooked rice and sand may be tempting, since babies often eat anything by the handfuls, you may want to consider some other options. Lindsey over at @love_teach_play showed us that almond flour, crispy rice cereal, and rolled oats can all be great sensory box materials! Add objects with different shapes, colors, sizes, and textures for them to find. An activity like this helps build brain connections and motor skills!
- Sensory Board – Babies and toddlers are all about learning shapes and textures. A sensory board can be great for developing their sense of touch! Get a bulletin board or other flat surface and cover it with things like carpet swatches, buttons, and found objects. We love this sensory board idea by Rimonda at @learn.play.explore on Instagram!
What Are Educational DIY Toys for Toddlers?
Stores and companies want you to buy the latest and greatest toys. In reality, you can make plenty of educational toys for toddlers without leaving your home!
- Playtime Puzzle – Kids love being able to fit different objects together, especially as they get older. To get started with this craft, make sure you have corrugated cardboard, cloth tape, contact paper, glue, and a knife. While you’ll want to keep your cutout pieces as simple as possible, your kid will still love putting it all together.
- Sensory Frames – We found this idea from Liv over at @acraftyliving! With 2-way sequin fabric, your baby will love exploring how the fabric changes when you touch it. To make it, simply replace the plastic or glass with sequin fabric in an old frame. Cut off the extra fabric and hot glue it to the back of the frame. Make sure the fabric is taut with no slack. Kids of all ages will be mesmerized with the finished product, and it’s a mess-free way to draw shapes and pictures. It’s pretty therapeutic.
- Tube Poke – Shape and object sorting is an important skill that toddlers need to develop. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot on a new toy for them to practice! Tape the bottom of a medium-sized box and cut the top off. Cover it with contact paper and cut a few holes the size of toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Once done, your kids will love pushing rolls through the cutouts to make them fit!
It’s Time to Get Crafty!
With all of the educational toys out there, you have plenty of ways to make the most of playtime your little one, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money or leave your house to do it. With a few simple objects like a box or contact paper, use your creativity, and make something new! Do you have any favorite educational DIY toys for babies? Share them with other parents in our comments, or share your own DIY toys for toddlers on your favorite family app!