Thrifty Toys You Can Make At Home

There’s no denying that children can be expensive! Of course, there are some things you have to buy, but have you considered saving money on toys by making your own at home? Not only is this financially savvy, but reusing some items, instead of simply throwing them away, is better for the environment too.

Babies up to 6 months

Stimulate your new baby’s sensory awareness with these handmade items:

  • Black-and-white posters: Newborns enjoy looking at black-and-white patterns. Use a black marker to create posters (with stripes, checks or circles), which you can hang up near Baby’s changing mat or car seat.
  • Busy bundle: For babies older than three months, crumple up a ball of wax paper and place it inside a scarf, tying the ends of the scarf together. As your little one plays with the bundle, he’ll be delighted by the crinkly textures and sounds it makes.

Babies from 6–9 months

Enhance your baby’s large motor skills and sensory awareness with these fun activities:

  • Rattles: Cover the ends of a toilet roll with fabric or cardboard, and add bells, grains, rice or beans as fillings (be sure the opening is closed securely, as these little pieces could be choking hazards if the rattle breaks).
  • Floating fish: Tie up the end of a small balloon and draw a face on it so it looks like a fish. Half-fill a small bottle with water, insert the fish into the bottle and close the cap. Let your baby watch the fish ‘swimming’ in the water as he moves the bottle around.

Babies: 9–12 months

Develop large motor skills by reusing common household items:

  • Tunnels: Convert boxes into tunnels and make an obstacle course for your crawler.
  • Drums: Put the plastic lid back on an empty formula or coffee tin and let your little drummer boy (or girl!) hit the can with a whisk or a spoon.


Use these ideas to trigger your toddler’s imagination while he works on his motor skills:

  • Puppets: Make puppets from old socks, using buttons for eyes and felt for the mouth; or make a paper-bag puppet by drawing a face on the bag and twisting the corner for ears (hold in place with an elastic band).
  • Puzzles: Stick a picture cut from a magazine onto a stiff piece of cardboard. Cut this into different shapes and build the puzzle with your child.