Also called Developmental Toys

I started making homemade toys as a new mom fresh out of my masters’ program in child development. I knew how important it was to provide stimulating playthings, but with my husband in graduate school, we couldn’t afford to spend much on toys.

I’m not against store-bought toys, but after coming up with all kinds of games to stimulate my children’s development (and having tons of fun doing it!), I became convinced that the simplicity of homemade toys was actually far superior to most games on the market.

Here’s why. Making your own toys…

1. Helps your kids’ development. When your kids take part in making games and toys, it kindles their creativity, gives them quality time with you, and works all kinds of cognitive and physical skills in the process.

2. Helps kids understand process. Children understandably tend to think that the things in their homes appear by magic. They have no understanding of either the cost or the work that goes into all that fills their lives. Making toys, whether they watch you or help, gives them a seed of understanding of where things come from, and that our belongings aren’t free (money-wise or time-wise). This helps them learn a priceless lesson in a lighthearted way.

3. Targets skills your child needs. You can make fun toys that are just right for your kids’ ages and developmental needs.

4. Provides a sense of power. When kids know that they can make what they want from materials around the house, it gives them a sense of agency that they don’t have when they need to rely on an adult to buy them things.

5. Is greener. Making toys out of recycled materials doesn’t just save you money, it’s taking a big weight off the earth-because you are recycling, and because you are consuming fewer factory-made products.

P.S. Don’t panic! These toys are not hard or time consuming to make!