There’s nothing quite so cool as making your very own DIY toys and games at home, and then spending hours playing with them. There’s just something really satisfying with knowing you’ve made that toy yourself using upcycled and recycled items from around the house.

What’s more is that making DIY toys at home is a great way to bond with your kids. Kids love to hang out with their parents and work on art and crafty things together. It’s really special family time, especially over the long school holidays, or on a rainy day weekend, when the kids are often scratching about for something to do.

So get your kids off those screens and inspire their creative little minds to help you make a fun toy or game out of just a few old items around the house. Feel free to make any of these toys your own by changing them, making them new or different, or uploading them to your own socials. And we hope you get inspired to create new things yourself at home too.

10 Great DIY Toys that Kids Can Make at Home

1. How to Make a Paper Plate Spinner Toy

How to make a Paper Spinner Toy hole

These Paper Spinner Toys are great fun to make and once your kids know how to make them they will enjoy experimenting with different patterns and designs.

I like to try use materials that are leftover we have around the house when I’m crafting. And this activity is a great way to use up left over paper plates. We had some left over from my daughter’s recent birthday.

2. Kid’s Play Kitchen Using Upcycled Bedside Table

Resene kitchenThis has to be one of our most successful DIY projects we’ve made for our little one.

We made this kid’s play kitchen using an old bedside table drawer and gave it to her as a present. She just loves playing with her pretend kitchen, and now her little brother does too!

3. How to Make a Gutter Board Game

How to Make a Gutter Board Game 5

Gutter board is one of the most underrated games to come out of the 80s. Sure Skip-it was all the rage for a bit, slip-n-slide was cool and the moon hopper is iconic.

But even these famous outdoor toys can’t match the ridiculously simple fun of throwing a ball at a board… and catching it again.

4. Kmart Cubby House Makeover

Kmart Cubby House Makeover

Discover how to turn the $199 Kmart Cubby House into a playhouse palace fit for a princess (and prince). These cubby houses are available in lots of online toy stores now, and there are often second-hand ones going online too, so you may even source one for cheaper than we did.

We inject a bit of Kiwi flavour into the Kmart Cubby House makeover craze.

5. Recycled Cup and Ball Game

Recycled Cup and Ball Game

This reminded me of toy we made at Brownies when I was a kid. It was a really simple idea where you tied a ping pong pall with ribbon and attached this to a paper cup.

It was a homemade cup and ball game. So I thought, I wonder if I can recreate this idea, and craft it up a bit!

6. Cardboard Roll Ring Toss Game

Cardboard Roll DIY Ring Toss Game

This project is a great way to reuse those cardboard rolls and paper plates piling up in the recycling bin.

This ring toss game is super-easy to make, and it’s a great way to get your kids engaged in crafting as they get a game to play at the end.

7. Cardboard Roll 10 Pin Bowling Game

Cardboard Roll 10 Pin Bowling Game

We’ve made lots of cardboard roll crafts over the years. I love them because it reuses the rolls, they’re very easy for small hands to work with, and the ideas are endless.

Here’s a simple idea for making your own cardboard roll 10 pin bowling games.

8. Large Noughts and Crosses Game

The noughts and crosses game is such a great game for kids, and all ages can play it.

It’s one of those games that just never gets old. This large craft version is very tactile for little hands, and just makes the game more fun!

9. Cardboard Roll Marble Run – Snake Inspired

Cardboard Roll Marble Run-Snake Inspired (1)

This is a super-fun and engaging activity to do with your kids as a weekend project.

I think you’ll really like building this marble run from cardboard rolls! We spent a whole afternoon painting, gluing and then playing with this snake-inspired, cardboard roll marble run.

10. How to make a shoebox theatre – Puppet play

how to make a shoebox theatre

Our shoebox theatre uses magnetic paint, only because my husband and I were saying how cool it would be if you could change out the background rather than have one static image on the back wall.

And this lead us to remember we had some Resene Magnetic Magic paint left over from our magnetic wall reno we did a while back.

For hundreds more art and crafts ideas, including DIY toys and games, check out our Creative arts and crafts section.

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Jarrod is a quintessential Kiwi Dad. He lives in the sunny Horowhenua, and works from a home office, overlooking his chickens and the sea. His inspiration and motivation in life come from his wife and two kids.

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