20 Fun and Easy DIY Toys for Kids to Spark Creativity

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

Unleash your child’s creativity and spark their imagination with DIY Toys for Kids! In a world where mass-produced toys often lack the personal touch, crafting your own toys at home can be a truly rewarding experience.

Not only does it allow your little one to explore their artistic side, but it also fosters a deeper connection between you and your child as you work together to bring their ideas to life.

Whether you’re looking to save money or simply want to provide a unique and meaningful playtime experience,

DIY Toys for Kids is the perfect solution. Discover the endless possibilities that await as you venture into the world of homemade toys and unlock a new era of creative expression for your child.

20 Montessori-Inspired DIY Toys for kids

Creating your child’s toys fosters a deeper connection with their playtime. These Montessori-inspired DIY toys are easy to make with household items and encourage open-ended play that sparks creativity and imagination.

1. Textured Sensory Ball (6 months+):

Textured Sensory Ball
Textured Sensory Ball
  • Materials: Balloon, uncooked rice, various textured fabrics (felt, fleece, cotton)
  • Make it: Cut squares from different fabrics. Place a handful of rice in the balloon. Push fabric squares into the balloon, then inflate and tie tightly. This creates a fascinating ball for little hands to explore textures and sounds.

2. Rainbow Yarn Ball (1 year+):

Rainbow Yarn Ball
Rainbow Yarn Ball
  • Materials: Yarn in various colors, balloon
  • Make it: Inflate a balloon to a medium size. Wrap different colored yarn around the balloon in all directions, leaving no gaps. Once covered, tie the yarn securely and carefully pop the balloon. You’ll have a beautiful, soft yarn ball perfect for tossing, rolling, and exploring colors.

3. Stacking and Sorting Cups (18 months+):

Stacking and Sorting Cups
Stacking and Sorting Cups
  • Materials: Recycled plastic cups (various sizes), construction paper, markers
  • Make it: Wash and dry the cups. Trace the base of each cup onto construction paper and cut out circles. Decorate the circles and cups with different colors or patterns. Stacking and sorting the cups by size and matching the paper circles helps develop hand-eye coordination and color recognition.

4. Button Sorting Box (2 years+):

Button Sorting Box
Button Sorting Box
  • Materials: Shoebox, assorted buttons (different sizes and colors), cardboard scraps
  • Make it: Cut a hole in the shoebox lid large enough for a child’s hand. On the inside of the lid, glue cardboard scraps to create sections of different sizes. Fill the box with buttons and encourage sorting by size or color through the hole. This activity strengthens fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities.

5. DIY Shakers (3 years+):

DIY Shakers
DIY Shakers
  • Materials: Empty plastic bottles (various sizes), dried beans, pasta, craft paper, tape
  • Make it: Fill each bottle with different amounts and types of dried beans or pasta. Securely tape the lids on. Decorate the bottles with colorful craft paper. Shaking these homemade shakers creates different sounds and textures, stimulating auditory and sensory development.

6. Pom-Pom Transfer Tray (Toddlers):

Pom-Pom Transfer Tray
Pom-Pom Transfer Tray
  • Materials: Shallow tray or dish, craft pom-poms (various colors and sizes), tongs (plastic preferred for little hands)
  • Make it: This simple activity strengthens fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Fill the tray with pom-poms and provide tongs. Encourage your child to transfer the pom-poms from one container to another, sorting by color or size for added challenge.

7. Lacing Beads (Preschoolers):

Lacing Beads
Lacing Beads
  • Materials: Pipe cleaners, large colorful beads with holes big enough for pipe cleaners
  • Make it: Cut pipe cleaners into different lengths. Show your child how to push the pipe cleaner through the bead, creating a simple necklace or bracelet. This activity promotes dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and color recognition.

8. DIY Sandpaper Board (Preschoolers):

  • Materials: Piece of scrap wood, sandpaper in various grits (course, medium, fine), glue
  • Make it: Cut the sandpaper into squares of similar size. Glue the sandpaper squares onto the wood, creating a textured board with different feels. This tactile experience refines sensory perception and helps children discriminate between textures.

9. Matching Sound Tubes (Preschoolers):

  • Materials: Empty cardboard tubes (paper towel rolls work well), various small objects that make different sounds (beans, buttons, bells)
  • Make it: Seal one end of each cardboard tube. Fill each tube with a different noise-making object and securely seal the other end. Decorate the tubes if desired. Shaking the tubes and matching the sounds helps develop auditory processing skills and memory.

10. DIY Spatulas and Mixing Bowls (All Ages):

  • Materials: Large spoons, wooden dowels or craft sticks, masking tape
  • Make it: Wrap masking tape around the handle of a spoon to create a “handle” for little hands. This simple adaptation allows children to participate in pretend play and practice pouring, scooping, and mixing during kitchen activities.

Recommended: 300+ Fun & Easy Toddler Activities for Hours of Fun

11. Clothespin Color Matching (Toddlers and Preschoolers):

cloths pin grasp activity
  • Materials: Clothespins (natural wood or colorful), construction paper, markers
  • Make it: Cut construction paper into circles or squares. Color half of each shape a different color. Encourage your child to clip the clothespins onto the matching colored halves. This activity strengthens fine motor skills and color recognition in a playful way.

12. Pouring Station (Toddlers and Preschoolers):

pouring play activity
  • Materials: Buckets, bins, cups (various sizes), dried beans, rice, pasta
  • Make it: Set up a pouring station with different sized containers and a variety of dry, scoopable materials. This open-ended activity allows for exploration of transferring, measuring, and pouring. It also strengthens hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

13. Scented Play Dough (All Ages):

playdough fun activity
  • Materials: Flour, salt, vegetable oil, water, food coloring (optional), essential oils (safe for children, like lavender or vanilla)
  • Make it: Combine flour, salt, and oil in a bowl. Slowly add water until a dough forms. Divide the dough and add a few drops of food coloring (if using) and a drop or two of essential oil to each section. Knead the dough until the color and scent are well incorporated. Scented play dough provides a calming sensory experience and encourages creativity through open-ended play.

14. DIY Fishing Game (Preschoolers and Kindergarten):

  • Materials: Cardboard box, craft paper, scissors, magnet, paperclips, string, yarn
  • Make it: Cut out fish shapes from craft paper and decorate them. Attach a paperclip to each fish. Cut a hole in the top of the cardboard box to represent the pond. Tie a piece of string to a magnet and secure the other end to a stick or dowel to create a fishing rod. This simple fishing game enhances hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills while providing imaginative play.

15. Texture Collage (All Ages):

  • Materials: Cardboard or poster board, various textured materials (fabric scraps, yarn, buttons, sandpaper), glue
  • Make it: Provide a base of cardboard or poster board and an assortment of textured materials. Encourage your child to glue the different textures onto the board, creating a unique collage that explores tactile sensations and artistic expression.

16. DIY Stamp Set (Preschoolers and Kindergarten):

  • Materials: Potatoes, craft paint, shallow dish, paper
  • Make it: Cut potatoes in half and carve simple shapes or letters on the cut surface. Pour a small amount of paint onto the dish. Dip the potato stamp into the paint and then gently press it onto the paper. This activity encourages creativity and helps develop hand-eye coordination.

17. Threading Box (Toddlers and Preschoolers):

  • Materials: Shoebox, yarn, needle (blunt tapestry needle preferred), buttons, beads (large and hole big enough for yarn)
  • Make it: Pierce several holes in the top of the shoebox lid, spaced evenly apart. Cut a length of yarn and thread it through a blunt needle. Children can then thread beads, buttons, or even pipe cleaners onto the yarn, strengthening fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

18. DIY Counting Chain (Preschoolers and Kindergarten):

  • Materials: Construction paper, scissors, hole puncher, yarn or string
  • Make it: Cut construction paper into circles or squares. Write numbers on each piece of paper. Punch a hole near the edge of each paper piece. Thread the paper circles onto the yarn or string in numerical order. This colorful chain helps with number recognition and counting practice.

19. Smell Memory Game (All Ages):

  • Materials: Small jars or containers with lids (all the same size), spices with distinct smells (cinnamon, vanilla, cloves), masking tape
  • Make it: Fill the jars with different spices, ensuring each spice has a matching pair. Label the lids with masking tape to indicate the scent (e.g., cinnamon). Shuffle the jars and have children find the matching pairs by smell. This memory game stimulates the olfactory senses and challenges memory retention.

20. DIY Binoculars (Preschoolers and Kindergarten):

DIY Binoculars
  • Materials: Two empty toilet paper rolls, yarn, scissors, tape, optional construction paper
  • Make it: Decorate the toilet paper rolls with construction paper if desired. Tape the rolls together side-by-side. Punch two holes on either side near the top of the connected rolls. Thread yarn through the holes, creating a loop for holding the binoculars. Peeking through these homemade binoculars encourages imaginative play and spatial awareness.

As you embark on your DIY Toys for Kids journey, remember that the true magic lies not just in the final product, but in the process itself. Nurture your child’s creativity, strengthen your bond, and watch as they blossom with each new project.

Embrace the endless possibilities that DIY Toys for Kids offer and unlock a world of imagination, learning, and cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

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