Monday, May 16, 2011

Make Your Own Toys!

Play is about creating, imagining, sharing ... and anyone can do it! The ability to "invent" is one that is being pushed aside, as we find ourselves in toy aisles filled with every kind of already-made play props. There is a place for all these toys, but a need for imaginative approaches to play, as well :)

We have to make sure that Invention, Problem-Solving, Creating - all great skills we look for in adults - are encouraged when children are developing!! Open-ended projects, where materials are gathered and new things are made, are great for helping to develop these skills. Start with one project, where everything is created from materials you already have and see the wheels start to turn. You might have to model and vocalize the thought process for making playthings, but the fun will catch on!

Take a basket of recycling, including plastics, paper, cardboard and boxes, and see what interesting things kids can make! It might be a challenge at first, to use their imaginations ... some will have a hard time pretending the shredded paper that you might use in pretend play is "spaghetti" or that cardboard boxes could be made into other toys, but as their imaginations kick in, magic might happen!

We found a simple cardboard box, some margarine tops, some silver foil and bottle tops - and look what we came up with!! Use whatever you have on hand, and, if you don't permanently attach things, you can change it up again! Our little kitchen comes apart and can travel to Grandma's or go on vacation with you!

Use YOUR imagination and see what you can come up with - maybe you have a train scene to make or a pet park or another appliance for your pretend play area!

Have fun!


  1. I love junk modelling as a way to stretch those problem solving skills. Great post - thanks for linking up with the Play Academy

  2. Great post - we're all for experimenting, curiosity and imagination at our house... and don't forget, when you're all finished playing: use the cardboard box and turn it into a picture frame to "frame yourself" in a DIY photobooth craft idea as one last up-cycling idea to try: