Ideas for Easy-made Toys
There are suggestions below as to how simple household items can be turned into inexpensive exploratory play objects that can be a part of Baby's fun, early learning and development.
- Cardboard pieces (approximately 15x15cm) - draw bold geometric patterns, faces, glue on colourful pictures cut out from magazines etc
- Colourful paper, draw a spiral shape, cut around it and let it twirl
- Balloons - draw a face or decorate with shiny strips of paper
- A small box (about 15cmx15cm in size) - glue pictures to the sides, draw geometric patterns and faces. You could also put photos of faces (such as Baby's, your own face and others in the family) on the box sides
- Disposable aluminium pie plates - not only are they shiny but you can draw eyes, a mouth and a nose using a marker pen or glue bits on that represent facial features e.g. a red pom-pom for a nose
- Shiny CD/DVD discs
- Rattles, a soft ball on a string, bells.
- Clear plastic water/drink bottles. The small bottles can be easily grasped at the lid by the time Baby is 4-5 months (make sure lids are 'supa-glued' on). Explore different sounds using different things inside ... the sky is the limit to what you can make! As Baby develops, larger plastic bottles with handles can be used.
TIP: Make sure the inside of the (clean) plastic bottle is dry - if you are using perishable things such as dried seeds/grains, they will go soggy with moisture.
In saying all this, another idea is putting a little amount of water into a clear plastic bottle and adding some glitter bits. Shaking the water makes a different sound and the glitter adds to the visual effect.
- Cylinder shaped containers. Depending on Baby's developmental skills, a small hand-sized cylinder can be held and shaken using both hands, and larger sizes can be rolled along a floor.
- Empty cotton reels/small plastic items/old keys can be threaded onto coloured ribbon/cord and easily grasped and shaken.
Paper such as wrapping paper makes a great noise and stimulates Baby when she kicks against it e.g. place paper over a large cushion and Baby can kick it during floor play. As she develops, Baby will love testing her hand strength by crumpling the paper (watch out for it going into the mouth).
Boxes of different shapes, sizes, and colours are fun as Baby develops skills to open/close, stack, put things into/take out of, and shake. As Baby becomes physically confident with mobility, large boxes can be turned into 'tunnel' shapes to crawl through, sit in and be pushed around the floor when you are feeling energetic! They can also be used for drawing on using large crayons, painting and decorating with pictures etc ... so many options for fun to be had and skills that Baby can develop from using boxes.
Old lightweight saucepans and lids are a noisy source of fun when Baby can sit and bang the lid on the pot (make sure it's not a glass lid as babies really show some strength when having fun!). This activity also provides opportunity for her to practice motor skills such as using arm/hand actions and grasping the knob of the lid, and cognitively exploring the concept of 'on/off' and 'down/up' while banging the lid to the pot. A metal or wooden spoon can also come in handy for her to bang on the pot.
A mirror is a great source of fun and learning for Baby. Not only will Baby learn to recognise herself as you look together into the mirror but she can watch her actions (slapping hands on the mirror that is secured to a wall or watching herself do 'clever' actions such as clap hands and laughing).
Make picture books out of pages from magazines, photos of yourselves and other family members and friends.