Judging by all of the television commercials, you need to spend big bucks on plastic in order to provide your children with something they’ll actually enjoy. These homemade toys are tons of fun whether you’re planning for your children’s holiday gifts, a birthday party or simply want to surprise the kiddos with something they can enjoy.  The list includes projects for all ability levels and budgets.

1. Toy Kitchen                

For the craft capable with carpentry skills, this project for recycling an entertainment center into a play kitchen is pretty incredible. If the design of the original center doesn’t match the one you have, search around online. I’ve seen similar projects for a wide range of TV cabinets, so chances are you’ll find something that easily adapted for what you have on hand.

2. Building Blocks

If you’re looking for simple toys to pack in the trunk when traveling with children to Grandma’s house, consider a plastic tote full of building blocks which can be used to create a variety of structures on a basic play mat or travel quilt. This piece  on making your own wooden blocks from Frugal Fun for Boys offers a helpful starting point.

3. Modeling Clay

home made toysMany of us who grew up in a North American setting remember Play Dough. It’s a colorful brand of modeling clay for children designed to provide entertainment on a rainy day, create literature extension projects and assist with the development of coordination in little hands. This recipe for homemade Play Dough from Martha Steward keeps things homemade and on budget.

4. Grocery Bag Kite

If you’re looking for something fun and affordable to add to your list of summer crafts, consider a homemade kite. This version from Rhythm of the Home uses inexpensive materials to prepare a simple toy your child can enjoy on a breezy day.

5. Homemade Telescope

Granted, you have to already know a bit about astronomy and observing equipment. If you do however, these homemade telescope instructions show you how to build your own for less than 50 USD.  Great for when your child has only begun to show an interest, as it’s a good idea to avoid spending big bucks until you’re sure they are going to stay enamored with the subject for more than a couple of months.

6. Sidewalk Chalk

This is a fun one for urban and suburban children alike. Crafting a Green World shows you how to make your own sidewalk chalk as a fun activity. The homemade version lets you know precisely what ingredients are going into the art medium, and lets the kids get in on the preparatory action.

7. Puppets

Whether you’re crafty enough to go for a full-on marionette or ventriloquist puppet for your teen or like to get the toddlers involved and keep it simple with homemade toilet paper tube characters, puppets are generally a hit with children of all ages. These wooden spoon puppets are a fun craft for a rainy day, while these crocheted finger puppets are a great way for Grandma to make something affordable for a gift.

When it comes to homemade toys, the difficulty level certainly does vary. So does the length of the supply list. That being said, most are achievable financially with a little planning and will give your kids something to remember for years. Particularly if you make them a family project and involve everyone.