Playing with toddlers has the advantage that they aren’t very picky about how nicely or accurately you have cut or drawn a picture! You don’t need to be crafty to make toys at home.
Below is a list of ‘toys’ you can make from things around the home . Prompt Words are also included. These DIY toys are cheap and easy to make. Don’t forget to involve your toddler in the making of it too, as that can also be a great time to learn new words.
1. Car Wash
All toddlers love squirting with spray bottles! Get out a tub of soapy water and start a car wash using a sponge and the spray.
Prompt Words – wet, wash cars, spray it, squirt, clean now!
2. Farm House
You can make a barn for all the animals with a small cardboard box. Just sticky tape the roof together and cut some doors on the side. You can paint it too if you like! Your toddler can have great fun driving the tractor in and out of the barn and putting the animals in.
Prompt words – door, drive car, horse in, close doors.
3. Washing Machine
You will need a cardboard box, old soap box, pegs and clothes.
Cut a round hole in a box (for the door to open) and then draw on some control buttons. Your toddler can use an empty soap box to ‘pour’ in the soap and then put all the clothes in the box. You can use your toddler’s clothes or doll clothes. Then peg the clothes on a string or your clothes rack.
Prompt words – sock, shirt, wash the skirt, take out
4. Cars & Roads
You will need chalk, cars, boxes, leaves, pebbles.
Draw some ‘roads’ on your pavement outside and set up a town! You can add trees (leaves/twigs), garages (plastic box), stop signs and anything else you find outside. You and your toddler can drive the cars around on the road, stopping and starting or crashing into each other! You can use large push vehicles or smaller matchbox cars depending on your child’s age.
Prompt words – stop, go, push car, it’s crashed!
Set up a kitchen stove/oven by glueing some paper plates to the top of a cardboard box. Then you can give your toddler some kitchen utensils to do some cooking. A small pot and wooden spoon can get it started. It’s always nice to add some recycled food containers (egg cartons, cereal boxes, milk cartons) which your child can use in his cooking.
Prompt words – hot, stir it, I’m cooking, yummy pasta.
6. Boat for the Bath
Home made boats for the bath are great fun. All you need to do is put some paper on a kebab stick and then stick this to a plastic container. Put some little people in the boat and float them in the bath.
Prompt Words – boat, push it, boat sinking, all wet.
7. Junk Mail
Does your toddler like helping you collect the junk mail from the letter box? Look through it with him and when he points out something interesting, you can cut it out and glue it on a piece of paper. Sometimes you can make up a little homemade book stapled together with lots of different clothes or foods.
Prompt Words – cut, look, stick on, more pictures.