If you read my post on what toys are age appropriate (Click here to read it), you learned that I have a slight toy addiction! Not only do I absolutely LOVE toys, but I love getting a great deal on toys! Or even better, toys that I didn’t have to pay for at all!! That is why I get so excited about HOMEMADE TOYS!!! Yay! I LOVE toys that are made from home. Not only are they pretty much free, but they can sometimes be more fun than store bought toys. Not to “beautiful junk”. (Stuff that most people find to be garbage…but its actually amazing stuff that can be recycled). I searched high and low, pulled out all the stops and found the most amazing homemade toys that are great teaching tools and will ALL enhance Fine Motor Skills!! Get ready to be excited about your beautiful junk!
1. Button Snake
How fun is this button snake from teachingmama?! I love how simple it is. All you will need are pieces of fabric, a ribbon and buttons. You could even put it on a rope. So simple and easy and guaranteed to keep your little one entertained! Not only is is super fun and easy, but you can customize it to your child’s interests or customize the colors! Find instructions here.
2. Cardboard Marble Shoot
This was a total hit in my house! I don’t know what is so fun about dropping something through a tube, but it is!!! You can use Pom Poms, golf balls (if your tape is strong) ping pong balls, marbles, etc…. This is so much fun for fine motor, cause and effect, coordination and many other skills! Find instructions here.
3. Styrofoam Hammer
K, what kid does not like to hammer??!! I don’t really know of many young children who don’t love to hammer! There is absolutely no set up required for this activity. They can go to town on this styrofoam for as long as they want! The Styrofoam lasts for a good amount of time! I bet you will think twice before throwing away the styrofoam out of the next package you receive! You can also use floral foam if you have some sitting around your house in those fake plants. Find instructions here.
4. Tugging Box
I always joke with people that I don’t know why I spend money on toys when all my baby wants is a box! Isn’t that seriously how it goes? Well, you can add to that awesome box to make it that much better! Now instead of just a plain old box, you have created a learning opportunity out of that box!!! Find instructions here.
5. Drum Kit
We LOVE music in our house! Anytime my baby hears any type of music (even a ring tone on my phone) he immediately gets his groove on! He loves to dance! I was so excited when I found this fun idea for how to make your own drum set for your child. Even preschool age children will love this! Find instructions here.
6. Fine Motor Pom Pom Drop
I could go on and on about how much I love this activity! It works on so many skills! Colors, sorting, fine motor, coordination, Counting, Letters, turn taking and so much more! It can be easily used by an older child or a toddler! If your child doesn’t have the fine motor capacity to use the tongs yet, let them use their fingers or the scoop! Find instructions here.
7. Baby Guitar
OOK Is there anything easier? NO! Get some rubber bands and a bread pan and BAM! You have a baby guitar! If you want to make one to keep- use a rectangle tissue box and put the rubber bands around as shown on the bread pan. This is so Easy! Be cautious if your baby is figuring out how to get the rubber bands off! Find instructions here.
8. Baby Rain Makers
I don’t know about you, but my baby loves to make noise and he LOVES to shake things! So these baby rain makers are awesome! If you don’t want to go through all the steps on the website, you can just add rice, beans, dry corn etc…. and jump to the end of the instructions on how to seal off the rain maker shown here to make a baby maraca!
9. Threading Can
This is a lot like the threading box shown earlier. But they used a can instead of the box! I have so many formula cans, food canisters etc… that I keep in my “beautiful junk” box!! I always love finding new ways to use them. This ribbon toy is fun and exciting and they cant get the ribbons out! It doesn’t have to look all cute if you don’t want to or don’t have the time. Your baby won’t mind if it isn’t cute, I promise! Find instructions here.
10. Home Made Bowling
This can be fun for the whole family! Not only will the bowling be fun, but it can be fun making the “pins” as well! Your kids will have a blast shaking the paint in the bottles. (Pour paint in the bottles and screw on the lid, tight! Have them shake the bottles until the paint is all over the inside.) Try out different paints to see what colors you can make! Then Hot glue the lids on after the paint has dried and turn your kitchen, hallway,back porch etc…. into a bowling alley! Find instructions here.
11. Sponge Blocks
This is such a fun idea! I love taking sponge blocks into the bath tub! They float, the are squishy and most of all they are CHEAP! This is also a great nap time activity for older children. (There is nothing worse than a block tower tipping over and waking a sleeping baby!) Find instructions here.
12. Pom Pom Shooters
Ok I am going to be totally honest with you….I might just make this for myself. I would love to sneak around shooting people with pom poms! This is such a fun activity. Again, what a great family activity! Pom Pom wars!! Recycle those nasty pool noodles that have bite marks in them (Don’t lie, your pool noodles totally have bite marks) and turn them into shooters! Using Pom Poms instead of marshmallows or other items makes this a fun game for little people. The pom poms are soft enough that they won’t hurt (Just watch the eyeballs). Find instructions here.
13. People Puzzles
This does not have to include real pictures. It can be artwork done by your child, it can be painted, it can be magazine pictures really anything that YOU want it to be! 3 D puzzles are so much fun! But they can be expensive. But you can get these wooden blocks for pretty cheap at a craft store and customize them to make your own 3 D block puzzles!! Find instructions here.
14. Busy Baby Blocks
This goes right along with my beautiful junk! I always had a hard time getting rid of these fun little baby food containers because I was certain that there was something out there to use them for! (Other than a teensy tinsy tuperware) And I found just the thing on thenatureofgrace! All you do is paint the inside of the container and hot glue the top on and you have fun colorful blocks! OOOR add a bell, some beans/rice/etc to create a fun music experience! Note: When painting a clear container- paint the inside to help prevent the paint from chipping! Find instructions here.
15. Pipe Cleaner Fun
This really needs no explanation! The picture says it all…All you need is your strainer, and some pipe cleaners. Wah-La! What Such a fun activity to distract your little person while you are cooking!! You can also use a shoe box upside down with holes poked in it! Find more fun pipe cleaner activities here.
16. Up-cyced wipe box
This is another container that I hate to throw away. I have reused mine for so many things. Make up cases, pencil boxes, storage etc…. But this is such a fun way to use them for a toy. My son LOVES to pull tissues out of a tissue box. I have seriously contemplated buying him his own Costco size box of tissues so he can just pull till his hearts content. But I settled for this much more amazing idea. Using fabric scraps in a wipe box. Problem Solved! Find other awesome ways to use a wipe box here.
17. Fine Motor Formula Cans
So I’m going to make myself sound like a hoarder of junk. I’m really not! I just love containers and the fun things they can turn into! One more container that I totally hate to get rid of is the Formula Can!!! SO Many fun uses for a formula can. And they are miraculous for Fine Motor development activities. By simply cutting different sized slits and holes in the top you can make so many different activities. And, you don’t have to keep 45 different formula cans, you can keep one and just save all the lids! Try using poker chips, baby food jar lids, pom poms, pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks etc… Find instructions here.
18. Texture Boards
This is a really fun one for the tiny crowd when they like feeling different textures and exploring that sensory component. These can also be great during tummy time for a baby to feel different textures, reach out for things, and keep them distracted during tummy time. It can also be a fun guessing game for kids to close their eyes and feel the different textures! Find instructions here.
19. Sensory Bottles
Sensory bottles are an incredible tool in helping children calm down and can be very helpful on teaching self regulation. In my preschool class I kept sensory bottles in the “calm down” box. Which was a spot where a child went to chill out instead of going to “time out”. ( To learn more about toddler time out click here.) They are fun, easy and cheap to make. They don’t have to be in a “calm down” box, they can simply be used as sensory play! Find instructions and more information on sensory bottles here.
20. House Hold Stacking
And lastly, house hold stacking! This is all stuff in your home that your child will absolutely love to play with and it costs you no extra money! Plastic Bowls, Tupperware, measuring cups, measuring spoons, etc… Keep these items on lower shelves, drawers etc… if your kitchen is not baby proofed. That way your child can play with something that you are not worried about hurting them or breaking! It takes absolutely no effort and they will love it!