The baby toy industry continues to grow massively year after year, and so do the piles of broken dolls, plastic toys, and discarded playthings in landfills around the world.
The unfortunate truth is that most parents blindly buy toys for their kids without thinking about their environmental impact; most of these toys do not last long and are dumped unceremoniously a few years down the line. Additionally, many of the store-bought toys can actually be unsafe for your baby.
But worry not! There are so many great ideas pertaining to DIY baby toys on the internet. Yes, that's right, you can finally put your Pinterest-surfing skills to some practical use.
DIY toys also make a great gift as they are a labor of love. All in all, it seems as though homemade toys for babies and toddlers are a fantastic idea and one that you should try out immediately if you've got some time.
So, how do you make homemade toys for babies? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Let's take a look at baby toys you can make at home that are good for your baby and also for the environment.
7 DIY Toys for Your Baby That Are Sustainable and Eco-Friendly
When you make a toy at home, you know exactly what materials were used to make it and where those materials came from. You can be sure that the toy is safe for your baby to play with and that it won’t end up in a landfill. Plus, you often end up repurposing items simply lying around the house and reducing your overall consumption in the process.
Not only is making toys for babies at home a good way to save money, but it's also an opportunity to do something creative and meaningful. So, are you ready to amp up baby playtime?
Without further ado, let's take a look at some eco-friendly toys you can make at home for your baby.
1. DIY Crochet Baby Rattle
Parents who enjoy crochet can make a DIY crochet baby rattle for their little one. Simply take a polished wooden ring and crochet on its top half! You'll find tons of crochet or amigurumi patterns online for this type of toy. See if you can use organic yarn and make sure that the wooden ring isn't small, chipped, or dyed.
Additionally, you can also take a small and tall plastic bottle (such as a medicine bottle) filled with beads, rice, and/or grains and crochet over and around it. Make sure that the cap of the bottle is sealed properly and that the yarn fully hides the bottle. Also, check whether your baby can grasp the toy properly in their small hand.
You can go wild with the crocheting process and make fruits, animals, cartoon characters, and all sorts of whimsical creatures that your little one will be fascinated by. It'll be a great toy for your baby's little hands to grasp and shake, and it'll also be fun for you to make!
Of course, you can keep an eye on your baby — as they play with the homemade crochet baby rattle — if they are particularly good at ripping things apart.
2. DIY Wooden Baby Blocks
Wooden baby blocks are classic toys that are both fun and educational for babies (and toddlers!). Indeed, any list talking about toys for babies will include wooden blocks as they help the little ones develop their fine motor skills.
Parents can make their own wooden blocks at home using eco-friendly materials, such as sustainable, polished wood and non-toxic paint. These blocks make a great DIY project for parents who especially enjoy working with wood.
So, if you're good with wood, make these blocks at home and watch proudly as your baby learns how to stack them!
You can also take a lidless storage box, glue a cloth on top and make a hole in its center, and encourage your baby to drop the blocks into the box through the hole once playtime is over.
3. DIY Fabric Baby Doll
Fabric baby dolls or rag dolls are another great eco-friendly toy for babies. They can be made using recycled, unused, or worn-out but safe and clean materials, such as old clothing, bedsheets, and scraps from finished or abandoned sewing projects.
You can use the more colorful and sturdy bits of cloth for the outside pieces and the faded, torn pieces of cloth for the stuffing. From little bunnies to cuddly mermaids, there are so many options when it comes to doll making!
Pro tip: You can convert some of your baby's newborn clothing into dolls by stuffing them and giving them cute faces and limbs.
If you have a toddler or an older child, you can ask them to help with the doll making process. This will not only keep them engaged but also increase their bonding time with their parent and sibling.
4. DIY Sock Puppets
Who doesn't love sock puppets? For generations, this DIY toy has been a staple in many households. They're perfect for when you want to introduce your little one to the concept of animals and different characters. Indeed, many parents use sock puppets to tell stories to their babies or toddlers before bedtime.
To make a sock puppet, you'll need an old and clean sock, some non-toxic glue, child-safe scissors, fabric paint or markers, and googly eyes. Once you have all the materials ready, let your imagination run wild and make any kind of animal or character you want.
If you're worried that your baby will somehow yank off and swallow the googly eyes, you can simply stitch in some eyes using yarn or make some eyes using child-safe paint.
You can make a whole family of sock puppets and use them to put on shows for your baby. They'll have a blast watching you make the puppets talk and move!
5. DIY Felt Baby Book
If you're looking for a toy that's both eco-friendly and educational, DIY felt baby books are perfect! They're also very simple to make, even if you don't know how to sew. Textile books allow babies to use their hands and eyes to process information, so they'll be both fun and education for your little one.
To make a DIY felt baby book, you'll need some old and clean felt fabric, some child-safe scissors, non-toxic glue, and googly eyes. Once you have all the materials, cut out different shapes from the felt (triangles, circles, squares) and glue them onto another piece of felt. You can even stitch the felt pieces if you have the time and skill.
You can make felt animals, people, and other characters to put in the book. You can either use an existing book or make one by folding and glueing/stitching together a couple of large pieces of thick craft paper or felt fabric.
Once you're done, let your baby explore the different textures and colors in the book. They'll love turning the pages and pointing at all the different shapes. Plus, it will help them in learning about shapes, people, and everyday items (depending on what you've put in the felt book).
6. DIY Sensory Play Mat
Sensory play mats are great for babies as they help stimulate their senses and encourage exploration. They're also very easy to make at home!
To make a DIY sensory play mat, you'll need some old and clean fabric (preferably of different colors and textures), child-safe scissors, and non-toxic glue. Once you have all the materials, cut out different shapes from the fabric and glue them onto another, larger piece of fabric.
You can also add other sensory elements to the mat, such as ribbons, pom-poms, and beads on thick strings.
Let your baby explore the different textures and colors on the mat. They'll love feeling all the different fabrics and playing with the ribbons and beads. If you're worried about them, just make sure to keep an eye on them as they play.
7. DIY Paper Towel or Toilet Roll Toys
Paper towel or toilet rolls are great for DIY toys as they're sturdy and can be easily recycled. Plus, they make great DIY building blocks or binoculars for your baby or toddler!
There are a few ways in which you can use your empty paper towel rolls. You can take a couple of them, glue some fabric all around them, and put a child-safe rope through them. Then, tape the ends of the rope to the last paper towel rolls on either side to make sure they don't slide off.
Your baby will be able to drag this roll-rope along the floor or simply pull, twist, and turn it to their heart's desire. Your child will also be encouraged to use their fine motor skills to grand and turn the rolls.
Another way to use paper towel rolls is by glueing fabric onto them and simply putting a curtain rod or a thick, polished stick through them. Two people can hold the rod/stick above the ground and your kid can simply smack the rolls and watch them move. To make this more interesting, you can paint animals on the fabric on top of the rolls!
DIY and homemade baby toys are not only eco-friendly and cost-efficient but also a great way to bond with your baby. With a little imagination, you can make any kind of toy you want! So get creative and have fun!
The above-mentioned suggestions are just a few ideas for eco-friendly and DIY toys that parents can make at home for their baby. There are many other great options out there that incorporate household items and creative skills. Share your fun ideas below so that another parent can benefit from them!
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