No-cost fun for boys ages 1 to 5

9 Homemade Toys for Toddlers and Preschool Boys

by Melanie Toye

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Making your own toys is a fun, frugal way for your toddler or preschooler to learn and use his imagination. You might be surprised at how many toys and games you can make by using recycled items from your home, such as cereal and diaper boxes to plastic bottles and junk mail. These homemade toys will provide hours of no-cost fun for your little one. Here are nine homemade toys for toddler and preschool boys that will cost you nothing.

1. An indoor play house

An indoor play house can be built with empty cereal and cookie boxes in less than two hours. You can either use masking tape or craft glue to stick all the boxes together.

Simply glue or tape a box to another box until it's high enough that your child has room to sit or stand in. Build all the walls and leave gaps for windows and a door. You can either make your own box door or simply leave it as a gap. Get your child to help build it too.

2. Dress up

Every child loves to dress up. Ideas like super heroes, robots, ghosts, etc. can all be achieved with recycled items you already have.

To create a superhero rocket launcher, simply wash two empty soft drink or water bottles and tape together. Then use a piece of ribbon and attach one end of the drink bottle and put over your child's shoulder. Do this to the other side.

Ghosts are fun and easy. Grab an old white shirt. Use an elastic band to close one end for the top of the head. Then cut out two holes for the eyes.

3. Paper ghosts

If your child loves all things spooky, a simple toy that will have them spooking everything out in no time is a paper ghost. Simply draw a ghost on paper and cut it out. Then cut a strip of cardboard from a cereal box and tape it to the back of the ghost. Your child has a ghost to spook with.

4. Travel mat

Going out to eat and you know your child will get bored very quickly? Simply draw a travel mat on a piece of paper. This can include a road with stops on the way, such as a zoo, a jetty with a boat, and a house. Pack a toy car and your child will be busy for the hour or two you're out.

5. A car house

Similar to a doll's house, except it's a car house. A car house has doors you can open and close, car ramps, and parking lots. It's easy to make. Simply use a diaper box as the base of the house and cut out another diaper box to make the indoor sections of the house, such as the ramp, etc. Painters tape works best to stick it together.

6. A knight's castle

Let them enjoy a castle for a knight. It's similar to the play house, but you can turn it into a castle. Make it tall enough for them to sit in. Instead of it being a full enclosure, just make it so they can sit behind the big castle wall. This can become a reading nook or be used for imaginative play.

7. A city

Pull out those cereal boxes again and cover them with paper. Any sort of paper will work. Have a cardboard base underneath; you can use part of a cereal box for this. Then glue or sticky tape down the small boxes over the cardboard base and draw a road around each "building."

Let your child explore city life with a toy car. Let your child help build the city by cutting the paper to gluing it down and deciding what each building is, etc.

8. Bus

Give your child a box and then make them a ticket. You can use a ticket from an old rewards card or some cardboard with paper tapped around it. Tell them to go for a ride on the bus, but first they must show you their bus ticket. This is great for little travelers.

9. Mud Cake Fun

This is for those kids who love to bake and get messy. Ask them to make you a cake. Simply give them a small kids' spade (or even a spoon) and get them to dig up some dirt from the backyard. Then let them fill a recycled plastic container. You can use the plastic lids that cakes come in from the store for example, but anything will do. Add some water and get them to mix the dirt and water to make the perfect cake.

Once you have made a few of these homemade toys, it just might spark your own creative ideas for other no-cost homemade toys for your preschool or toddler boy.

Melanie Toye is a creative, engaging story teller and has written and published 11 books to date. Melanie's career also involves freelance writing and she is a woman surrounded by males. She's a wife and mother of two gorgeous boys and two male German shepherd dogs. You can follow Melanie Toye via her blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and read a free sample of her books here.

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