Friday, August 30, 2013

My extremely sophisticated homemade toys - part 2

Part one of my "sophisticated" toys is my most-visited post. You can check it out here. Also check out part three here.

Ever since I discovered Pinterest, I've been saving (and insisting that Dan save) every single bottle, box, toilet paper roll, container and jar that comes into our home, because I'm sure that I will need them all for a project at some point. If you come to my house and a few of the rooms are filled with garbage, don't judge. All of the toys in both this post and my first toy post are made from things that you probably already have lying around your house, assuming that you're a garbage hoarder like I am. Keep reading for some easy DIY toys for your baby or toddler.

Straws in a puffs container
Lucas loves puffs, and when I asked Dan not to throw out the puffs containers, he laughed and asked if it was because of Pinterest. I actually didn't have a project in mind yet, but once again, Pinterest did not disappoint. The original idea I saw used a Pringles can, but I already had the puffs container on hand (and we never buy Pringles.) This toy can be completed in about two minutes. For me, it took at least half an hour, but that's because I couldn't find our hole punch and spent 28 minutes hunting for it.

Here's what you'll need:
Hole punch, straws, puff container. (Also, I used scissors. But you probably know what those look like.)

This is what my hand looks like.
Using the hole punch, punch holes in the lid of the container and put the lid back on. Seriously, that's it. That's the only step. You'll kind of have to shove the the lid into the hole punch since the edge of the lid is thicker than the hole punch, but it's easy to do, I promise. I also cut the straws a little shorter so they'd fit into the jar without poking out the top of the lid. The straws I got from Ikea are nice because they're a little thinner than most other straws and easier to fit into your hole-punched holes. You could also use pipe cleaners. Or you could maybe grab a handful of straws from McDonalds, because hey, free straws!

I just gave Lucas this toy for the first time at 15 months, and he became good at it very quickly. The point is just for him to put the straws through the holes and into the container. The container is really light, and I was having to hold it to keep it from falling over while he put the straws in, so before he figured out how to hold it so it didn't fall over, I wedged the bottom of it into a silverware holder to keep it from falling over while he played with it. He also loves just playing with the straws. Obviously.

Ok, so this isn't really a toy, per se, but Lucas loves them. I don't remember exactly how old he was when I made them, but he was less than a year old, and I was amazed (in a way that might only be possible for first-time moms who don't know how quickly babies learn things) at how quickly he was able to point to the right card when I asked him to identify something. I have a bunch of videos of him pointing to various cards while I freak out in the background. I was going to post one here, but I couldn't get it to work, and I already used up my patience quota for the day. So just imagine me squealing way too enthusiastically while Lucas points at a picture of a cat.

I used our own photographs and pictures cut from magazines or printed from the computer for the cards, and I glued them onto card stock and then had them laminated. The card stock that is in the scrapbooking section of a craft store and is cut to be the right size to mount 4x6 photos is perfect. You can see some of the flashcards on the floor in the picture at the top of this blog.

A container and pom poms
This is another embarrassingly simple "toy." it's just the container that his oatmeal comes in and some large pom poms (from the craft store.) That's it. You don't even have to make anything, which is nice if you're not good at making things. Lucas loves to put the pom poms in the top and then dump them back out. Let's all make a pact that when our children grow up, we won't tell them that they primarily played with garbage when they were babies, ok??

I swear my child wears real clothes sometimes. But he looks pretty dang cute in pajamas.

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And don't forget to check out part one here and part three here.


  1. These are awesome! Mostly because of how simple they are. I love the straw idea. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you liked these! I love simple crafts... mostly because I can't do difficult ones.

  2. while my sisters and i were growing up, my mom was constantly saving things "for an art project." we were very artsy people (in the sense of painted toilet paper rolls and not in any way fancy artsy) and then we went into girls scouts and my mom was a scout leader for my younger sister and that just compounded the saving. it took me up until this past year to stop saving every piece of trash "for an art project" and it's still a constant struggle. (my sisters and i have been trying to break the habit since we were teens.) and now suddenly saving trash for art projects is "the thing to do" and i don't know whether i want to start that up again. (although, i still do have way too much stuff crammed into corners of my one bedroom apartment that i won't let my husband throw out cause i might need them someday so i guess it's not as much "starting again" as "continuing.")

    anyway, these ideas are really cool, and i will steal them all one day.

    1. Haha! I'm sure it's a hard habit to break! I saved a bunch of baby food jars for a long time because someone else's church once collected them for something years ago. But then I ended up using the lids for a craft for Lucas.

    2. Haha! I'm sure it's a hard habit to break! I saved a bunch of baby food jars for a long time because someone else's church once collected them for something years ago. But then I ended up using the lids for a craft for Lucas.

  3. I have just discovered your blog and can't stop laughing.

    Ah saturday night entertainment never has been so good. Am now going to up end my garbage to create toys for my 16 months old.