Don’t let the quest for your child’s entertainment break the bank. Preschoolers are often entertained just as easily with homemade toys as with more expensive store-bought items. Try these mom-tested homemade toys:
Bottled Fun: Take empty, clear, plastic single-serving bottles and remove the labels. Fill at least two-thirds full with water, mix in a little food coloring and vegetable oil. Add things like glitter, plastic confetti flakes, or small plastic party favors. Using a glue gun, seal the cap and let it dry. (Cover the cap with strong tape for added “insurance.”) Let your child roll the bottles on the floor, or shake them up to watch all the stuff float around inside.
Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Small plastic containers with lids, like Crystal Light canisters or yogurt cups, make great shaker toys. Fill with any cereal and seal the top with a glue gun. You can cover the outside of the container with colorful contact paper or have you kids decorate construction paper to be glued on. Use a variety of “fillers” in separate containers to make different sounds.
Touchy-Feely Book: Make of book of interesting textures for your child to feel like a soft, squishy sponge, sandpaper, and pieces of different fabrics such as satin and fur. Attach each texture sample to a piece of posterboard. Use cheap, heavy duty fabric or vinyl to back each page sturdily. With a key ring to hold the book together, you can add or take off pages easily.
Floating Shapes: Fill half a large, heavy-duty ziplock bag with water. Add small sponges or other water-safe shapes. Seal the bag and put it on your baby’s high chair tray so she can push on the plastic and watch the shapes float around.
More “Non-Toy” Toys:
- Coasters in a stackable holder
- Plastic container lids and damp washcloths for teething
- Small flashlights
- Trowels or a small folding shovel
- A basket with a handle and a lid
- A gently used purse and/or wallet with pictures inside
- “Treasure” boxes, like plastic tool or tackle boxes or lidded cardboard boxes