Grab a sharpie and put some faces on rocks. Then just sit back and let the creative play begin! My daughter loves hunting for the rocks, giving the rocks bubble baths and drying them all, too. Then just sit back and admire your mommy genius because they are so happy about ROCKS, ha! This can take up to half an hour all said and done. You could even wash some dishes. Or just get on the floor and play too because you feel like if you touch another dish you’ll scream.
If I (or the Easter bunny) spend $5 on a box of cereal just because Dory is on it you bet I’m going to think about repurposing that box! Think of all the things we buy and then toss with characters on the box: cereal, fruit snacks, diapers, snack bars, and more.
1. Cut out the characters
2. Glue or tape to a craft stick
3. Introduce characters to your child using your best impression of the characters.
4. Sit back and decide what to buy yourself as a reward for saving so much money on toys!
Paint with water
You don’t need special paper, paint, or a smock. Just a paintbrush, water, and construction paper. I’m one of those moms that has a constant internal battle between “I want my kid to be creative and explore” and “OMG this mess!” Water painting was my gateway to real paint. My daughter LOVES it. Dark colors of construction paper work the best and as it dries and disappears they can just keep on painting. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I would join in and it was oddly therapeutic feeling.
Fill and spill toys
It’s pretty simple really. Kids like to put things in containers and dump them out. It’s controlled mess making so I don’t really mind. It’s good fine motor practice and clean up is part of the game. Win win! My 10 month old and 3 year old will find games to play with empty wipes containers for an ENTIRE playtime. It’s adorable and I comment to myself about how they will someday be engineers and take care of me.
One if the most popular fill and spill games was when I used an empty formula container. I punched holes randomly on the lid. I used sticks had bought for cake pops from the craft store to stick them in the holes then dump them out! Hooray! This has stuck around and kept entertaining toddlers for about a year now! I have also used small plush poms poms, puzzle pieces, whatever you have around the house!
Tape contact paper sticky side out to a wall or window. Let your tot stick on paper, pieces of yarn, plush pom poms, whatever you have in the craft box! This activity can keep a little one engaged for a long time! We actually did this activity daily for a while it was so popular. Just be prepared for the pets to contribute to the art with all their fur, too. So thoughtful of them.
Have fun, and please share any ideas you have for homemade toys!