A little ingenuity can go a long way and save you money
With a bit of imagination and a little elbow grease, you can create fun playthings for your kids from upcycled items you most likely have already. Why buy and spend more money when you can do-it-yourself and treat your kids to toys created for them by you. They will surely appreciate its special value.
1. Turn an old tablecloth into an instant lightweight tent playhouse. Kids love to play house and will be delighted you came up with this for them. Just drape it over the table as you would normally do, snip a little here, a little there, and you have the entrance and windows cut out. Decorate as you please with different household gadgets, and use other fabric scraps to add curtains, etc.
2. Fabricate a bowling alley with pool noodles and potato chip canisters. Fashion the alley “bumpers” surrounding a thin yoga mat and create bowling pins from used potato chip canisters decorated and numbered accordingly. Light plastic balls will complete your bowling alley fun, be it indoors or outside.
3. A shoebox guitar for the music maestro. Gift your kid with a guitar made from an old shoe box, some durable rubber bands, cardboard rolls, and colored paper for decorations. Just cut out a hole in the top and front of the box, attach the rubber bands over the top hole, insert the cardboard rolls into the front hole, decorate, and presto! Enjoy the plucking sounds of your young one, sing along if you feel the beat.
4. Create a race car game with old clothespins. Fabricate toy cars with old, broken clothespins with wheels made from beads, buttons, or whatever little round things you have, paint the clothespins to resemble numbered cars in a race track that you can also design, and let the race begin!
5. Find the hidden objects game. Use a clean plastic container, small colored objects such as plastic letters, numbers, or insects, and some rice grains. Fill in the container with ⅔ full of rice, add the objects, seal the container and shake away. Have your kids try to find the objects hiding under the rice by shaking.
6. Upcycle an old cabinet to serve as a workbench for the budding handyman. Any type of cabinet, bedside table, or shelf can be used as the base. Add special details to resemble a workbench like a pegboard backsplash, reclaimed plywood for the work surface, and even smooth rolling casters so the “workmen” can move it around as needed. Decorate to make it look rustic and authentic.
7. Appliance boxes can make a doorway castle. Design a doorway castle for kids to play in when the weather does not permit outdoor fun. Make sure the appliance box is trimmed ¼ inch wider than the doorway so it will squeeze firmly into position, and can easily be removed after. Again, use your imagination to decorate the castle.
8. Beach fun with DIY animal tracks.A simple yet fun DIY plaything. Using old flip flops trimmed to lightweight plywood, and attached with polyester rope can turn into a fun game of “stamping” tracks on the sand.
9. Cardboard pizza oven and shovel. Cardboard cut-outs, glue, colored paper, a couple of painted knobs, and your imagination are all you need to create a pizza oven with shovel/server…make different looking pies for variety.
10. Fabricate a miniature play scenario using a small mint tin. Create scenery to serve as the background inside the tin, whether it’s hand drawn or magazine cut-outs. Use other graphics that can be attached to magnets to create a story with movements, and let your kids create their own stories…
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