Creating and building your own homemade toys can be a very handy and cheap way to get kids new toys, to keep the play all fresh and new, and in many cases to upcycle many of everyday items you already have at home.
Kids love toys! Furthermore, kids love having new toys every once in a while. For some, like my daughters, that “every once in a while” can turn to almost daily: “Mom, can I have a new toy? Old toys are boring!”. Well, most of us can’t afford purchasing our kids new toys daily!
Why you should make homemade toys?
Why make your own toys when you can buy them so cheaply these days?
This is something I hear quite often. But before you buy, here are twelve reasons why making your own toys is awesome:
1. You get a sense of creative satisfaction. This was something that I yearned for when I first left the corporate world to become a mum. Being a stay at home mum is a wonderful, yet never-ending job. At the end of a relentless week, being able to say “I finished this one thing” helped a lot.
2. Your child will LOVE anything you make (even if your artistic skills are still at kindergarten level). In fact, your creative skills will probably reach superhero status in your child’s mind as they start to think of you as someone who actually makes ‘things’.
3. You can avoid the toy shop altogether, and thus prevent the dreaded ‘toy shop tantrum’. Or, you can take your child out for window shopping and get inspired seeing “real” toys for your next homemade toy session.
4. Depending on what you’re making, your child might be able to help! So it doubles as a creative craft session and a DIY toy in one. Win-win situation every way you look!
5. It gives your child a sense that things don’t have to have a price attached to be valuable. For sure, you experienced your child playing more with wrapping paper then a gift which came inside that same wrapping paper.
6. It gets your child off the ‘more, More, MORE’ treadmill. Or, they might as for more ways to make their own toys. It’s not a bad thing and, for sure, it will boost child’s imagination and creativity.
7. It lets you design a toy specifically for what your child is interested in right now. And, since child’s interest moves from one to another thing fast, you can adapt and make new homemade toys as needed.
8. It’s often more affordable, especially when you can make use of items you already have around the house or that you would normally throw away (things in your recycle bin).
9. You can make personalised toys with your child’s name, photo or favourite nursery rhyme. Or, with photographs of your family members. They will adore them!
10. Making your own toys gives you more control over the subtle messages that sometimes frustrate me about store bought toys. You can choose neutral colours or use your child’s actual favourite colours (which may not be limited to girl pink or boy blue); you can remove the gender bias of some toy types; and you can remove the set of instructions that tell kids how they should (or shouldn’t) play.
11. It’s a great way to start an environmental discussion and introduce the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle. As we mentioned, we are very bent on 3R and playing with junk items.
12. Homemade toys make wonderfully meaningful gifts! They can be as simple or as complicated as you like, and any tiny flaws just show that it was made with love.
You don’t need to be particularly crafty or own a hot glue gun to start making toys for your kids – some of best toy ideas are the simplest too. If you’re not sure where to start, a cardboard box is always handy. There are so many things you can make with that alone! I also seem to have developed a fixation on making toilet paper roll dolls….
Danya is a fun Australian mum who spends her days playing with her two spunky little girls, making new batches of play dough, and creating toilet paper roll dolls, and her nights writing about it all on her blog Danya Banya.
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