Quality Online Guides

How To Make Your Own Toys For Your Children

Author: Dianne Kumar

Book Series: Make It Yourself Series

1. Giving Your Children Something from the Heart

As a caring parent, you want to make sure that your children have everything that they need. This will include caring for any medical needs as they arise, providing them with a warm and comfortable home, giving them healthy food and of course, providing them with plenty of love. Something else that needs to be considered when children are concerned is the need for play. This publication is designed to help you to make the most out of that basic need of all children.


Playtime for a child is more than rest and relaxation; it is a way for them to learn and to bond with others in the world around them. That is why it is vitally important for you to ensure that they have toys that foster that type of imagination and bonding. Throughout the pages of this publication, you will learn how to make toys for your children that are not only going to be loved when they are younger, they will be something that is remembered for many years to come. In fact, there are many cases in which homemade toys started a tradition that has been passed down for generations.

Why Make Your Own Toys?

You might be surprised with the number of different reasons why it is important to create your own toys. There is no doubt that making toys for children provides you with the opportunity to shape their lives in a number of different ways. If you produce the right types of toys, it can help a young mind to learn and it will also be a safe option, as you will use the right types of materials and make it in a way that is safe for them.

You also need to consider the options that are available for children's toys. Many parents are alarmed by the fact that more and more frequently, children's toys are violent and they may not want to introduce that element into their young child's lives. As they get older, they will need to deal with those elements of the world and you can guide them through the process but when a child is very young, it is a time for innocence and that is why you should design their toys for them, which will help to foster that innocence and a degree of imagination.

There are a number of things to be considered when you create toys for children. One of those factors is the age of the child, but remember, all children do not age at the same speed. When you look at the toys at a toy store, you might be surprised to find that some of them that are rated for children that are the age of your children are not necessarily appropriate for them. By creating toys that are specific to the needs of your child, you are really creating an atmosphere for them to grow at their own speed.

The Need to Consider Safety

We are going to discuss a number of different factors and ideas for children's toys in this book. Many of them will be related to young children, perhaps those that are under 10, and in some cases, they will be for very young children who are still quite inexperienced in handling different types of materials. When you make toys in the manner that is discussed in this publication, you will not need to be concerned about your child handling dangerous material. Why is that the case?

When you work with a toy and create it from the ground up, you have the opportunity to design it with materials that are safe for your children. This would include organic materials, which are not going to introduce an unhealthy element into the playroom. Of course, you are always going to need to be concerned about safety and you would never let a small child play with a toy that is inappropriate for someone their age. It is always going to be necessary for you to give the proper parental guidance and to watch the children, but when you provide them with organic, homemade toys, you can be happy with the materials that were used.

Something else that you may want to consider is the possibility of getting your child involved in the toy making process. Although it certainly is possible for you to make the toy and to provide it as a gift for the child, they may be interested in helping you to make it, depending upon their age. There are plenty of projects available that you can do with the child that will help you to bond with them and to provide them with memories that will last for a lifetime. When you make toys in this way, it gives them something physical that they can hold immediately and a memory that they can hold indefinitely.

Learning is also an important part of child's play and it is something that you can take a part in with your child as well. One of the ways that you can do this is to make toys for your children that are educational. It will help to foster learning within the child, even from a very young age, and will allow them to grow in any direction that the toy is designed to help them to grow.

An example of a learning toy that you can make is to make a book for your child. These are rather simplistic toys and they are something that all children love and can appreciate. From a very young age, these homemade books will foster a love of learning in your child and will introduce them to the gift of reading, perhaps even helping them to form a lifelong love of reading. In addition, there are many other educational toys available, depending upon the needs and the age of your child. We will discuss educational toys in this publication to help you to get started.

Finally, we will talk about some unusual toys that you can make using products that are found in nature. These tend to be some of the more interesting toys, and you might be surprised with how you can make them from common items that can easily be found in your local area and perhaps even in your backyard.

There is no doubt that providing quality toys that are homemade for your children will be of benefit to them. It can help them to grow and it certainly allows them to see that you truly care for them. With the proper toys and, of course, the proper guidance from you, you will be sending your children on a journey that will allow them to successfully navigate through life.

2. Why Make Your Own Toys? A Look at the Benefits

Many parents are interested in making toys for their children but they may not stop to truly consider all the benefits that are involved in doing so. In this chapter, we are going to take a look at some of those benefits that are not only true for homemade toys in general; they are true for toys that are educational in nature. Of course, not every homemade toy is going to teach your child math, science or reading but they're all going to educate your child, because that is a part of playing.

Easter Eggs  3

We will discuss some of the more common benefits that are associated with designing and building your own toys. As you begin doing it and watch your children play with the toys that you have created, you will also discover that there are many other benefits that were not covered in this chapter. It is something that can help to bring you and your children closer together and can give your child the opportunity to do what they do best.

Imagination - One of the benefits that parents are able to see when they create toys for their children is that it offers the ability for the imagination to be exercised. This is true from the standpoint of your child, who will, no doubt, enjoy the toys that you made and use their imagination to play with them. It also helps to foster imagination on your part as well. As you continue to make toys for your children, you will find that they are taking on their own personality, and that is often directly associated with your personality.

Innocence - Far too frequently, children tend to lose a certain amount of their innocence because of the toys with which they play. It does not take much looking at the toy store to recognize that more and more frequently, toys are becoming violent and they cause children to demonstrate that quality as well. Children deserve the opportunity to be innocent, and making toys for your children provides them with that opportunity.

Relationships - It will also become obvious that making toys for your children helps to build relationships within the family as well. Your children will truly appreciate the gifts that you make an even as they get older, they will continue to remember the fact that you took the time to make them something special. It may also be possible that you are working with the children on various projects and toys as well. This can certainly help to build relationships between you and your children.

Health – When you make your own toys for your children, you have control over the entire process. This includes choosing the materials that are used in making the toys, and you can choose organic, natural materials that will not be harmful to the child. The same cannot be said, however, when you're purchasing commercial toys and many of them use materials that are not organic and in some cases, may have been treated with chemicals that are outright dangerous for the child.

Development – Another factor that can be considered for making your own toys is that you can make them educational. Of course, you can purchase educational toys as well but why not make them yourself? It can really help with the development of your child and there are studies that indicate that educational toys can help to foster the mental growth of children in numerous ways. You can even make educational toys that will be very specific to a type of education, regardless of whether it is math, science or any other subject.

Quality – This benefit is really one that depends on you but it is possible for you to make toys that are of much higher quality than what you would be able to purchase at your local toy store. You can make the toys from high quality materials and design them in such a way that they will last for years. This can be of benefit for your children, not only while they are playing with them but also because they will be able to keep them as a remembrance for a very long time.

Simplistic – When you look at the toys at your local toy store, it is likely that you are seeing some rather complex items. Many parents feel as if their children need that complexity in order to enjoy playtime, but that is not truly the case. How many times has a parent purchased a very expensive and complex toy for the child, only to have them enjoying the box that it came in? When you make your own toys, you can keep them simplistic and this will have many benefits for both you and the children.

What Benefits Will You Experience?

Making the decision to create toys for your children is one that can have many different benefits. We have covered some of the primary reasons why you would want to consider making toys in this chapter, but there are many other reasons that will be specific to your circumstances. As you continue to make toys for your children and watch them enjoying the play time with them, it will help you to bond with your children even further and more importantly, it will help them to bond with you.

3. A Word about Organics

As we discussed in the previous chapter, there are many benefits associated with making toys for your children. Included among those benefits was the fact that you can make toys that are healthier for children when you compare them to commercial toys that are produced and typically, imported for children. In this chapter, we are going to discuss some of the reasons why you would want to consider producing organic toys for your children. It can also alert you to the problems that are associated with many commercial toys and why you would want to avoid using them.

Cotton Grass Landscape

First of all, it's important to recognize that children come into close contact with their toys and in many cases, they are not only holding them against their skin, they may even put them in their mouths. It is difficult to keep children from doing this, but you can be confident in the fact that your child will not be negatively affected if you use organic materials when making the toys.

Although it is not considered a toy, there is also some consideration for using organic materials when it comes to your child's bedding as well. Consider the possibility that the blankets, pillows and other items that you put into your child's bed or crib are going to come into contact with their delicate skin all night long. If there are any chemicals that are used in the production of those items, including fire retardant chemicals and pesticides/herbicides, which are sprayed on the crops that produce those items, it could have repercussions for the child, both in the short term and in the long term.

Some of the issues that may be associated with using conventional toys that are not organic can include respiratory difficulties, because many children have allergic reactions to the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of the toys and in growing the materials to make the toys. They can also experience problems such as skin rash, which is another type of allergy that is very common in children.

Long-term problems can be even more serious. For example, some of the types of plastics that may be used in the manufacturing of commercial toys could have serious consequences for the children and make it more likely for them to experience serious difficulties at a later time in life. This can include issues with the development of the reproductive organs, liver damage, kidney issues and even some types of cancer. The respiratory problems that were discussed earlier could also become a long-term issue, as chemicals can lead to asthma in children as well.

Quite obviously, choosing to use organic materials when making toys for your children is something that will likely benefit them now and for many years in the future. There is also something else that should be considered, and that is the impact that those materials may have on the overall environment. How could a simple child's toy impact the environment negatively?

One way that commercially made toys can impact the environment is because they make use of non-organic materials, which harm the environment in numerous ways. This could be from the pesticides and fertilizers that are used when growing the crops to make material for the toys, but it may also be due to the manufacturing process, which can cause issues with the environment as well.

Organic toys, on the other hand, use materials that are environmentally friendly. You don't need to worry about your children playing with the toys because of the chemicals that may come into contact with their skin or that they may breathe, and you don't need to be concerned about the impact that you are having on the environment.

One other way that organic toys are environmentally friendly is because they tend to be long lasting. It is unfathomable to think about how many toys end up in the dump every year, taking up valuable space and leaching the harmful chemicals back into the environment again. Homemade toys tend to be longer lasting and in many cases, they will last for a lifetime. Even if they do happen to break or need to be thrown away, the fact that they are organic means that they will have less of an impact on the environment.

Finding Organic Materials for Toys

It is one thing to say that you are going to make organic toys for your children but it is quite another to find the materials that can be used in the process. You want to ensure that you are not only using materials that have been organically grown, you want to ensure that they have not been sprayed with any type of chemical to preserve them long-term.

Organic Wood - One of the materials that is used in many homemade toys, especially for younger children, is wood. After all, children absolutely love wooden blocks and they will play with them for hours. If you want to make organic wooden blocks, you need to look further than your local Home Depot. Many of the boards that are sold at Home Depot have been treated with chemicals, and that is very common for all types of building material, which is why the inside environment in many of our homes tends to be toxic.

There are some resources online where you can purchase organic wood, or you may be able to find resources in your local area. There are many small kilns that can be found across the nation and you will typically be within driving distance of one of those resources. They will often sell you pieces of wood that have been kiln dried and have not been treated with any type of chemical. In addition, you can go beyond the typical Pine and choose other types of wood that have a natural, unique beauty all on their own.

Organic Fabric - Another common material that is used in making homemade toys is fabric. In fact, there are many different types of fabric that can be used but there is a problem with many of them that needs to be considered. In many cases, fabrics, such as cotton, which come from a plant that is grown have been treated during the growing process with pesticides and fed with non-organic fertilizers. Those pesticides are going to stick with the cotton, even after it has been made into cloth. Other types of cotton are manufactured using synthetic materials that are nonorganic as well.

Organic cloth is not difficult to find, but it is going to be more expensive in many cases than nonorganic cloth. You may be able to find it in your local area and you can certainly find many resources available online to provide that cloth for you.

Other Materials - We have discussed the primary materials that are used in most homemade toys. It is also important to consider other, less thought of materials that will be utilized as well. Those materials include glue, rubber, plastic and even cardboard. If at all possible, it would be beneficial to choose organic materials when using these items but in some cases, it is impossible to do so.

Aim for near Perfection

Although it would be ideal if we could make toys that were 100% organic, that is rarely ever going to be the case. Even when we purchase organic material, it may still be contaminated from pesticides that come from neighboring crops because they tend to drift in the wind.

Rather than trying to be 100% organic, you should simply try to be as organic as possible. There may be times when it is necessary to use nonorganic materials, such as foam letters and numbers that would be pasted onto wooden blocks. As long as you are as close to organic as possible, you are going to be providing your child with something that is much more beneficial than a commercial toy, which gives no consideration to organic materials.

A Resource to Consider

If you have any questions about the dangers that are associated with toys, you can check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and their standards for children's toys. These standards are constantly updated and it is necessary for them to do so, because many toy manufacturers give a higher priority to profit than to the health of your children.

Looking down through the Consumer Product Safety Commission FAQ for safety standards in children's toys, you will be alarmed at some of the issues that exist. Some of the specific items that are covered by this commission include the packaging film, wires or rods, projections, stuffing materials, squeeze toys, pacifiers, battery-operated toys, accessible edges and small objects, which could pose a choking hazard for small children.

As a concerned parent, you need to be cautious about the toys that you are providing for your children. You are never going to be able to provide the "perfect toy" for your child, but you can provide them with one that is mostly organic, safe and made with love.

4. Learning Toys for the Young Mind

Throughout the pages of this publication, we're going to discuss many different types of toys that can be made for your children. One of the most beneficial types of toys is one that educates the child in some way or another. That is the type of toy that is going to be discussed in this chapter. When you make toys for your children that help them to learn, you are providing many benefits. What are the benefits of educational toys?

Professor Tiger

One of the key benefits of making educational toys and providing them for your children is that it helps them to learn. There have been numerous studies that show that these types of toys can help to foster imagination and can educate the child in numerous ways. You can even direct the type of education that is provided, depending upon the toy that you are making. It certainly is something that you would want to consider, and here are a few ideas for you to choose from.

Wooden Shapes - One of the best toys that you can provide for a young child is a wooden block. These come in many different shapes and sizes, but when it comes to educational toys, you can really direct the child in any number of different ways. For this project, you will need some three-quarter inch wood, a dowel rod and some odorless, VOC free paint.

Begin by cutting the wood into various shapes. This is something that is going to depend upon what you wish to get out of the educational toy, as you can cut it into letters, numbers or even animal shapes. Let your imagination be your guide and, if necessary, download templates online that will allow you to keep the size of the shapes consistent.

You will also want to make a base that is slightly wider than the wood pieces that you are cutting out and long enough to accommodate several of the shapes. Drill small holes in the base and insert the dowel rods, using glue to keep them in place. Be sure to measure carefully so that the dowel pins are consistently spaced so that they will accommodate several of the wooden pieces that were manufactured in the first step.

After cutting the wood into their proper shape, you will want to cut small holes in the wood that will allow them to fit through the dowels that are protruding from the wooden base. Again, you would want to measure carefully to ensure that they were able to fit properly and it is best if you make the hole slightly larger so it is easy for them to fit on the base.

Finally, paint the pieces with primary colors and, if desired, use stickers to decorate them in any way that you desire. Some people like to personalize the pieces, making them with eyes, a nose and a mouth. It will provide a toy that your child will play with for hours on end and it will help to introduce them to the shapes that you are making.

A Walk-Through Nature - Another, rather unique toy that you can make for your child is a board that can be carried and will introduce many aspects of nature to your children. It is made as a flip board with a hole in the center and pictures that are arranged around the hole that are nature themed.

You can make this project out of cardboard, but if you want it to last for a long time, you should make it out of a thin piece of plywood. Make sure that it is thin enough so that it will not be heavy for your child to carry. The size of the main board is going to be approximately 24" wide, 18" high. The hole in the center should be approximately 9" x 6".

The next step in the process is to attach the handles, which can be glued to the board. You can pick up a few paint stir sticks at your local hardware store, which will be ideal for this purpose. You should then drill three small holes, equally spaced near the top of the board and insert key chain clips, which will be used to produce the flip board effect.

The final step in the process is to produce the different boards that will be used for the project. You can create these individual boards for anything in nature, such as cloud types, tree types, animals and rocks. Make each of the extra boards the same size, including the holes, and paste pictures around the opening in the center of the board that are themed as described above. Attach the individual boards to the key chain clips, so that they can be flipped to the back of the project when they are not in use.

This type of toy really fosters imagination, and will also help to teach your child about various things in nature. For example, with the cloud board showing, your child can hold the project up and look through the center of it at a cloud in the sky and identify it according to one of the pictures that is around the hole. The same can also be true for animals, trees, rocks or anything else you want to teach your child about in nature.

Alphabet Sponges - This is an easy project that is relatively inexpensive and will be enjoyed by your child for a very long time. Quite simply, cut alphabet letters out of large sponges, such as those that are used for flooring projects. You can purchase large packs of those sponges at a hardware store for a reasonable price.

Sponges are a lot of fun at bath time, but they can also make an enjoyable, soft toy that is played with in other areas of the home as well. It can help to introduce a young mind to the alphabet and make learning fun. You do need to be cautious, however, because very young children can chew these toys easily, so it is not typically recommended for children under the age of two.

5. Getting the Kids Involved - Projects to Do Together

In this chapter, we're going to talk about a few toys that can be made with the help of your children. Obviously, there are going to be certain toys that must be made in a woodshop and you would not want to have young children involved, but there are also many toys that can fill an afternoon of fun and will be used for quite some time after the creative process has been completed. Admittedly, there are almost endless options when it comes to projects that can be done with your children so we are going to discuss three base items that can be used for those projects.

Child Colouring A Book

Shoeboxes - What child doesn't enjoy playing with boxes? There is an ongoing joke that toys that are purchased are often ignored but the boxes that they come in are played with regularly. If you have access to shoeboxes, you really have access to a lot of fun and some crafty ideas that your children will love.

One of the options that is available for use with shoeboxes is to make large shoes. You can cut an area in the narrow edge of the box on the top that is large enough to fit your child's foot. You can then decorate the shoebox like a shoe, including coloring it, drawing some insignias on it and even gluing some string or yarn to the box to make the shoestrings. Make sure that you attach the top of the box securely to the bottom and your children can walk around in their new pair of shoes.

Something else that you can make from the shoebox is a dollhouse. When the lid is on it, it will be completely enclosed, except for the windows and the doors that are cut out of the box. As the lid is lifted off of it, your child will have easy access to the dolls that are on the inside.

There are many other options for using shoeboxes when making toys with your children. It really is only limited by your imagination, but some of the options that you may want to consider include making a pizza oven, a parking garage, a mini puppet show theater, a suitcase or tying several shoeboxes together with string and making a train.

Pinecones - Another item that is readily available in almost all areas is the pinecone. Regardless of whether they are large or small, they can be made into some very interesting toys that your children will love for quite some time. In addition, your children will appreciate the time that it takes outdoors to gather the pinecones and to choose those that are going to be just right for the toys that you are making.

Be aware of the possibility that there can be some "hitchhikers" that come inside along with the pinecones. You need to inspect them thoroughly, making sure that you are not bringing any insects into the home and that they are not part of the toys that you are making.

One of the interesting toys that can be made from a pinecone is a doll. With some feathers for the hair, some glue on eyes, a small triangle piece of felt for the nose and some pipe cleaners for the arms, you really have something that can be enjoyed by a child for a long time. It will also help to spark the creativity of the child as they are making it, because there are almost endless possibilities of how they can be made.

You can also paint pinecones in a number of different ways to make them even more interesting or to create small creatures, such as spiders (with pipe cleaner legs) or bumblebees that are attached to the end of a pipe cleaner or small stick to fly around the room. Keep plenty of pinecones on hand, because you will be surprised with how many different ways they can be used when making children's toys.

Egg Cartons - One other item that can be saved and used for many different toys are egg cartons. Be sure that you clean the cartons out thoroughly, because there can be some hidden dangers inside of them, including dangerous items, such as Salmonella. In many cases, the eggs that were in the carton were not washed enough to truly make the carton clean. Take the time to wipe them out with an antibacterial wipe before they are used as a toy.

Egg cartons can be used in so many different ways, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one or two projects. One thing that you may want to consider, however, is attaching wheels to the side of the carton and making it into a vehicle. These vehicles can include a school bus, a train or a tractor-trailer. You can also color and decorate the inside of the egg carton, making it a handy place to keep small items, such as marbles, seashells and small toys.

6. Homemade Toy Classics That Are Still Winners

Many people who are considering making toys for children are those who had toys made for them when they were younger. It certainly can be nostalgic, and it can bring back memories from years gone by in your life when you see your own children playing with the same toys that were made by your hands. In this chapter, we're going to talk about a few of the classic toys that can easily be made at home and have not gone out of style. In fact, it is unlikely that these toys will ever be out of style.

ABC Blocks

Wooden Blocks - Out of all of the different toys that you can choose from, wooden blocks continue to be a classic that are enjoyed by children around the world. They are also one of the easier toys to make and are something that are indestructible, provided you make them properly. You also find that there are a number of variations available when making wooden blocks, and we will consider those variations now.

The first thing that you need to do is to manufacture the blocks themselves. This is going to require some work on your part, but it is going to be work that makes something that is long lasting. Quite obviously, you are going to need some wood if you are going to make wooden blocks and, the best way for you to make them is from organic wood that has been purchased from a local kiln. It is also possible to make wooden blocks from two by fours that you purchase at your local hardware store, but you may be introducing a chemical element into your child’s play room that would be better left outside.

When choosing the size of the toy blocks you are making, consider the age of the child. When you are making these blocks for very young children, you should make them larger because the children have not yet developed their fine motor skills and it makes it more difficult for them to fit them into their mouth. As your children get older, they will still enjoy the larger blocks but you can also add some smaller blocks into the mix to add variety.

Many of the wooden blocks that you will remember from your youth are likely cubicle, but there is also plenty of room for some creativity as well. You can create many of the standard blocks for your children, keeping them equal on all sides but you should also create some rectangles, triangles and perhaps even some circles. It can help to give your child more to work with and it certainly will be useful when it comes to their creativity.

After cutting the blocks to their specific size, you will want to sand them thoroughly. Start with a heavy grit sandpaper, such as 100, and then work your way toward finer grit, finally ending up at 220. This will produce a very smooth surface and will reduce the possibility that splinters will be a problem. Make sure that you also touch up the edges of all of the blocks, rounding them off slightly so that they are not sharp.

Although you can provide your child with raw wooden blocks, there is also some benefit to finishing them and perhaps even to making some additions. When finishing the wooden blocks, make sure that you consider the nature of the finish that you are using. Some finishes, such as polyurethane and regular paint are going to include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and could be harmful to your child if they were to chew on them. Choose something that does not have VOCs and is odorless, and try to pick something that would not harm your child if they were to happen to ingest some of it. That is not as big of an issue for older children, but younger children do like to put things in their mouth.

Finally, you can adorn the blocks in a number of different ways. You can purchase a small numerical or alphabetical toy set at the toy store that are made out of foam or perhaps plastics. Attach them to the wooden blocks and you will have something more than simply a cube for your child to play with. Not only will it help to foster their creativity, it will also be very helpful as an educational toy.

Raggedy Ann/Raggedy Andy - Most of us had one of these dolls when we were growing up, and it can certainly be a welcome addition to your child’s play room as well. Making one of these is not difficult, but it will require that you download a pattern from the Internet and follow it very closely. Although it certainly is possible to purchase one of these items online or in your local area, it will mean more to your children if you make it on your own and it will also be something very nostalgic for them as they get older.

Wooden Horse - This is a project that is a bit more complex, but if you have the tools for it and are at least a little bit handy, you can make a wooden rocking horse for your child that will be a welcome addition to the family for many years. In fact, it may become something that is not only used by your child but it could be passed down to their children and may be a part of the family for generations.

You can download the instructions as well as some templates for making the wooden horse from a number of different websites. A simple Google search will provide you with the templates that you need. Once you have them in hand, you need to choose the material that you will use for making the horse. Take the time to find some hardwood that will be beautiful when it is finished, rather than simply making it out of plywood or another piece of wood that can be purchased at Home Depot. It may cost a little more, but it will be a highly prized piece when it is finished. You can find hardwood at a local kiln or order it online.

After you have cut everything out and assembled it together, you will want to finish it. There are many options for finishing wood, but you want to choose something that is not going to be harmful to your child. There are a number of wood stains and sealers available that are low or no VOCs and non-toxic for children. These are an excellent choice for finishing toys and can even be considered food grade. If you use the wrong type of finish, such as strong polyurethane, you will find that it continues to have the odor for quite some time and even after the odor is gone, it will still be leaking VOCs into the surrounding air.

Dollhouse - When you take on the project of building a dollhouse, you should be prepared for some fine work and to put in the time necessary to get the job done. A dollhouse is not only something that is a play toy for a young girl; it is something that will be treasured in the family for many years.

Admittedly, not everybody is going to have the skills necessary to build a high-quality dollhouse but if you take your time, you might be surprised with what you are able to accomplish. If you do not have the time or the necessary skills to produce a high-quality dollhouse with multiple rooms and furniture, you can work on one that is more simplistic in nature. Even a small dollhouse that is the size of a shoebox would be one that is greatly appreciated by a young child and will give them a place to play with their "little people".

Toy Box - One other option that you may want to consider is making a toy box to house all of your children's toys. This is something that is not necessarily a toy, in and of itself, but it is something that will be a welcome addition to any room. In fact, you may find that you are making multiple toy boxes, once you have the hang of it.

A toy box does not need to be a simple creation that is just an empty box with a lid on it. In fact, you can truly create something that is both functional and beautiful, making it out of wood such as cedar; so that it also has a pleasing sent that will be appreciated by those in the room. As your children get older, the box will not lose its usefulness and you may find that it is something that your children continue to use for a wide variety of purposes, even as they grow to adulthood.

7. Making Your Own Sock Toys

Did you ever play with socks when you were a child? I remember many times that I had socks on my hand, pretending as if they were puppets. It was a lot of fun, and it is something that I also see my own children doing now that I am a parent. The fact of the matter is, socks are excellent for creating toys for your children and, if you work them the right way, it can help to foster creativity in the child and can give them something safe and soft to play with.


Before I give you any suggestions on how to make these toys, it is important to consider the materials that you are using when making them. The socks themselves must be soft, but you should also choose one that is a very high quality. Although it certainly is possible for you to pull an old sock out of your dresser drawer, it will make a much better job if you purchase new socks and use them right out of the pack.

You should also consider the stuffing that you are using when making any type of sock toy. If at all possible, choose something that is all-natural, such as cotton and make sure that it is organic. The stuffing inside the toy is going to make a difference in the quality of it, and you want it to be soft and healthy for the child. You can purchase organic cotton online in bulk to make as many of these soft toys as you want.

Making a Sock Monkey - Although there are many different options for making sock toys, one that is going to be appreciated by many children and parents is the sock monkey. After all, we probably had at least one of these ourselves when we were children and we may remember the times that we played with these stuffed animals. Sock monkeys are easy to make and there are so many varieties available, you will be surprised with what you are able to create.

Try to purchase long tube socks that have a standard pattern that you will be able to use to make the arms and legs of the sock monkey match each other. Typically, a single sock is going to be enough to make at least one arm and a leg, if you cut the material and sew the sides together.

Take a moment to sew the sock together in half so that the two pieces are going to stay together as you are cutting out the arms and the legs. You can also do the same for the ears, the body and the head. If you work with the sock inside out, you can use a marker without having it show up on the outside of the sock once it is completed.

Now that you have the individual parts of the monkey cut out, you can sew the arms and legs together and fill them with cotton stuffing. It is important to overfill it and to make it fairly firm, because it will tend to loosen up over time. It is easier to add more cotton at this time than to take apart the monkey and add more at a later time. Do the same with the head, filling it with cotton and using buttons for the eyes.

Now that you have the appendages sewn and filled, you can sew the body of the monkey and fill it with cotton as well. Attach the arms and legs to the body by sewing them in place and finally, attach the tail. It may take some practice, but it will create a classic sock toy that your children will love.

Dog and Cat - If you want a relatively simple sock toy and one that will be loved by your children, you can make either a dog or a cat very easily. In fact, it is really just a matter of filling the sock with cotton and folding over the top, sewing it so that the corners of the top make the ears of the animal. You can choose different size and color socks to make the animals unique, and you can also add additional decorations to the sock to make them unique as well.

In order to make a differentiation between the head of the animal in the body, you can tie a piece of yarn tightly around the middle and tack it in place with some thread. You can also use a button that is sewn on the front of the animal at the area of the chin to make a convenient place to tie the yarn together.

The face of the animal can be made by either sowing it in place using a contrasting color thread or you can make the eyes from small buttons and attach whiskers that are made from small pieces of yarn or thread and attached with glue. You can also draw the face on the animal with a thin tipped magic marker.

Sock Octopus - This variation of the sock monkey is one that your children will love. You can follow the instructions for making the sock monkey that are provided in this chapter but, instead of adding two arms and two legs, you will add eight tails. You should also make the head somewhat longer than you would for a sock monkey, which will help to give it some personality. Add some contrasting color buttons for the eyes and you will have a sock Octopus that sits easily on any flat surface. It is also a soft sock animal that your children can carry with them always.

Sock Puppets - Finally, we are going to talk about how to make one of the most classic sock animals in existence, the sock puppet. Although it certainly is possible for your children to simply use a plain sock as a puppet, and we have all done it, by putting a little bit of work into it, you can make them some actual puppets that will take on an entirely new personality.

The first thing that you should do is to grab a sock and to put your hand in it and make it into a puppet. You want to do this using your child's hand, because you want the puppet to fit them rather than fitting your hand. You can purchase eyes and glue them into place and then make both the hair and nose out of yarn. The inside of the mouth, which is the area between the fingers and the thumb when the sock is tucked inside can be filled with a piece of orange or red felt, which will make up both the tongue and the roof of the mouth.

This is a very simple project, but it is one that can be very enjoyable. It gets your children involved and it produces a happy, friendly character that your children can play with using their imagination. They are very easy to make, so you can make them a number of the sock puppets and before you know it, they will be putting on their own puppet show for you to enjoy.

8. Making Your Own Books for Children

One of the toys that many parents enjoy making for their children are books. Not only does it help to foster a love for reading in children that may be very young, it is also something that can get your child involved in the process so that it becomes more of a family project. In this chapter, we are going to discuss two different ways to can make books for your children and it is guaranteed that they will love the finished product.

Baby With Books

Cloth Books for Young Children

If you were making books for a very young child or even for a baby, you would most certainly want to make them out of cloth. It is a material that is very soft for the child’s hand and you don’t need to be concerned about paper cuts or having the child chew on the book and destroying it. Many of these books are impervious to the damage that a young child can do to them and it will be a very convenient thing for them to carry around with them all day long.

The first thing that you will need to do is to cut pieces of fabric that are twice as wide as the book itself. They will be folded in half to make the pages of the book. You can decorate the fabric in a number of different ways, one of them being to print iron on patches with your inkjet printer and the other would be to print directly on the cloth itself. This is possible if you use some freezer paper. Cut the freezer paper to the size of the page that you want for your cloth but and then cut the cloth slightly larger so that you can wrap it around the edges of the freezer paper and tape it in place. You can then print directly on the cloth side using the best setting available for your inkjet printer.

In order to create the book, you will stack the pages on top of each other and sew them together between the pages. If you are putting together a larger cloth book with several pages, you may want to sew two lines down the middle of the book. It may even be preferable if you leave an extra inch in between the pages to form the spine of the book. As an alternate addition to the cloth book, you can sew in a piece of ribbon into the spine to make it easy for the child to carry the book around with them.

One other option that you may want to consider is to thicken the pages by doubling the cloth and perhaps including extra cloth between the sides. This will make the book very soft and many very young children will appreciate the feel of the book.

Making Paper Books for Older Children

Older children are also going to appreciate having homemade books as well. When you make it a family project, it can really bring out the creativity in the child and in you as the parent as well. The process is very similar to making a cloth book, in that you are going to make a single page that is as wide as two pages in the book. Make sure that you leave a small space in between the sides of the page for making the spine of the book.

The most difficult part about making a paper book for a child is the planning phase. You want to make sure that you have the storyline laid out very carefully and then you want to number the pages, so that each part of the story is being drawn in the right area. It can be frustrating if you get off by a single page and it ends up throwing the story off by a page as well. There is a lot of work involved in designing one of these books and creating the content, so make sure you plan very carefully.

The easiest way for you to make the spine of the paper book for older children is to punch holes in it and then to weave a piece of ribbon or yarn through the holes. It can then be easily attached and it will hold together nicely, allowing the book to be read and to be stored neatly. It also offers the added benefit of providing the opportunity to add additional pages or to swap out pages, just in case the storyline needs to be changed.

9. Outdoor Toys for All Seasons

Many of the homemade toys that we have discussed in this publication up until this point have been for indoor use. In this chapter, we are going to look to the great outdoors and some of the many options that are available for making toys that are usable in the outdoor environment. You will find that there are just as many options, but the toys do tend to be more difficult and complex to make. Here are a few options that you may want to consider.

Hide And Seek

Ring Toss – One of the more popular yard games that has been enjoyed for many years is ring toss. It is likely that you have played a similar game in your own backyard growing up. Making a ring toss set is relatively easy, but you can make it more complicated if you want to spice things up a little bit.

The basic parts of the ring toss game are the pegs that are stuck in the ground and the rings that are tossed over the peg. You can use dowel rods for the pegs that are stuck in the ground, or you can create your own base, made out of a wood platform with a dowel rod stuck into it so that it does not need to be stuck into the ground.

The rings for the ring toss game can either be made out of wood or you can make them out of cardboard, for small children if the rings are not going to be thrown very far. There may also be some ready-made rings available at your local hardware store that can help to cut down the work necessary to produce this toy. Paint the toy with some low VOC paint and you are ready to go.

The ring toss game can also double as a horseshoe game, if you make some wooden horseshoes for it. It is just another variation that can help to make the game more enjoyable.

Lawn Bowling – Another option for outdoor play is to make a lawn bowling set. This is a relatively straightforward project, as you will need to make the pins out of wood and then purchase the wooden balls that will be used as the bowling balls.

Lawn bowling is a lot of fun and it is something that is likely to become a family tradition once you begin doing it. Make sure that you keep the pins large on the bottom, because it will make it easier for them to stand without falling over. It is also best if you make the pins out of solid wood, because the extra weight will be beneficial.

Corn hole – A relative newcomer to the outdoor game scene, corn hole is one of the more popular games that is played in many areas around the country. It is also relatively easy to make, but once you have one available, you will find that the game is very addictive.

In order to make a corn hole set, you will need two boxes that have a 4-inch diameter hole cut in the center of the top. You should make the top at least two foot square, although a larger platform would be beneficial for smaller children. You should also slope the top of the box at approximately a 25° angle.

You are also going to need several handheld beanbags that are filled with corn. The easiest way to make these is to use a burlap sack for the cloth material and sew three sides of it, filling it with corn and then sewing the final side. The beanbag should be approximately 2 inches square so it is easy to handle but still has sufficient weight to carry it as you throw it to its intended target.

You can really make up your own rules when it comes to designing the corn hole set or you can go with the standard rules, as it is quite a competitive sport. You can look up more information about corn hole online and you will have more information than you can possibly imagine for developing such a game.

10. Making Toys from Nature

In this final chapter, we’re going to talk about making toys from items that are readily available in nature. You will find that this is often the best option, because it is guaranteed to be organic and you are also providing your child the opportunity to find the items that are made into toys. There are many options available, but consider these few to get you started.

Stones 2

Rocks – You would probably be surprised with the number of different types of toys that can be made from rocks. One of my favorite toy ideas for young children is to take a trip to a local stream and find some smooth rocks. There are going to be plenty available and most children really enjoy the feel of the stones.

Try to pick a variety of stones that are handheld and make sure that enough of them are flat on the ends so that they are stackable. You can then paint the stones with your children, either completely covering them with primary colors or painting designs on the stones to make them unique.

Acorns – These common nuts that are found in many areas can make an excellent toy for your children as well. You can collect these items, and paint them a wide variety of colors to be used for multiple purposes. You can also cover the nut portion of the acorn with glue to add glitter, felt or to wrap yarn around it permanently.

Acorns may not be a primary toy for your children, but they are an excellent addition and your children will learn to use their imagination when playing with them. When choosing acorns, be cautious that you don’t choose any with small holes in them, because that may mean that it has a worm or insect inside of it.

Sticks – Finally, we have one of the more interesting items that can be used to make toys for children from nature. Although it may seem somewhat simplistic, sticks can be used for creating a number of toys and many children will truly appreciate those toys when they are created as a family.

One idea for making stick toys is to make them into people. You can use sticks of various sizes, whittling down the ends of some of the sticks and inserting them into holes that have been drilled in the larger sticks. You can also make animals from sticks as well. It is just one way for you to use nature and to have your children use their creativity when playing with toys that are made at home.