15 homemade creative play toys for babies

homemade baby toys

Buying toys for your baby can be expensive, and sometimes they don’t last that long! We all want to encourage creative play in our little ones. Before you fork out for expensive development toys though, check out our 15 homemade creative play toys for babies using things around your home.

Your child really doesn’t care about brand names or labels. In fact, they don’t even know what a ‘toy’ is. They really just want something bright and noisy to play and engage with.

There are plenty of household items that make great toys for baby, and with a little bit of imagination you can turn everyday things into toys with a twist.

In fact, you may just find that baby keeps going back to your colourful wrapped tissue box; bypassing all those ‘development’ toys along the way!

Safety first

When making your own toys, it’s important to keep safety in the front of your mind. A good checklist to follow is:

Size of homemade baby toys

A general rule is the smaller the child, the bigger the toy. If the toy can fit into a film canister, or it has removable parts that can, then it is not suitable for children under 3 years of age.

Surface on homemade baby toys

Babies put everything in their mouths and can be easily poisoned if a toy is made from, or coated in, a toxic material. Check out paint and adhesive labels before use. You should also make sure the surface is smooth, with no sharp edges or corners.


Make sure any strings or ribbons are not long enough to get wrapped around baby and cut off baby’s circulation. Also make sure they are firmly attached to the toy.

Supervision of babies with toys

Did we mention babies put everything in their mouths? It’s important to remember any homemade toy can potentially cause choking – no matter how well you’ve made it. If anyone can pull it apart, your baby can! Keep an eye on baby at all times.

So with all those safety points in mind, here are some great ideas for turning everyday items into fabulous toys.

15 homemade creative play toys for babies

1. Cut a cup sized hole into the lid of an ice cream container and then tape around it to soften any sharp edges. Fill the container with lots of different coloured scarves and watch baby have lots of fun pulling them out, then stuffing them back in.

2. Small boxes like those used for tea bags, tissues and cereal, make great building blocks for baby. Stuff the boxes with newspaper to make them sturdy, and then wrap them in brightly coloured book covering. Because the book covering is 100% adhesive, there are no bits of tape or paper that can come off and cause choking.

3. Cut a cup sized hole, half way along a postage tube and find 2 or 3 brightly coloured rubber balls. When baby drops the ball through the hole it disappears, but when they pick up the tube to find it, the ball rolls out one end. Babies from 9 months on will be fascinated by how this works.

4. Make your own board books for baby by cutting out pictures from magazines and gluing them onto sturdy card. Cover each page with clear book covering and then tape them together to form an accordion.

5. Put a handful of stones, rice or pasta into a small Pringles can and tape the lid firmly shut with packaging tape to make a great rattle. Make sure the tape is pressed flat onto the can, so that baby can’t pull off small pieces. Small Milo, baking powder or Quik tins are also a good size for baby to hold.

6. An empty Formula tin and a wooden spoon make a great drum kit!

7. Wine casks are sturdy boxes which make great ‘posting’ toys. Cut several different shapes out of one side of the box, some that are bigger than others. Cover the box in brightly coloured book covering, and give baby some small toys to post. They will soon discover that some items fit through the holes, while others are too big or the wrong shape.

8. Make your own activity gym by tying a selection of small toys to a broom stick or long pole and resting it between 2 chairs. Make sure the stick is well secured so that it can not roll off and land on baby.

9. ¾ fill a small water bottle or plastic jar with water and add 2-3 handfuls of glitter. Glue the lid shut and let baby tip it backwards and forwards. When they start crawling they will love chasing it across the room.

10. Stuff a sock with crinkly wrapping paper and tie a knot in the end. Baby can safely scrunch the sock and be rewarded with great sounds.

11. Punch a hole through the centre of several plastic milk bottle caps and then string them together on a piece of elastic to form a bracelet. This makes a great rattle which is light and easy for baby to grasp on to.

12. Collect plastic lids from various containers to make your own set of stacking cups. Hairspray, shaving foam, cooking oil, and dairy whip all have good size lids. Make sure you wash them well before use.

13. Make great textured blocks by gluing different fabrics and materials onto wooden blocks.

14. Old keyboards or calculators are great fun for babies to tap on, especially as they are rewarded with the ‘click click click’ sound. Make sure there are no loose buttons or keys.

15. Large cardboard boxes or laundry baskets make great cars for baby to sit in. It takes some effort for you to push them around the house, but their giggles will make it worth your while.

16. A large cardboard box weighted down with toys and books is a great way to help baby with ‘cruising’ (walking around while leaning on furniture or being lead by the hand). It needs to be light enough so that it moves when baby pushes against it, but not so light that it takes off from under them.

17. Remember, babies find fun in just about everything. Boxes, tubes, containers, cups, spoons, wrapping paper – you name it. It doesn’t have to be an ‘official toy’ to provide entertainment – the whole world is one big playground. Open up your plastics cupboard and raid the recycling, you’ll be surprised with just what you come up with. Have fun!

For more information on toys that are suitable for the different stages of babyhood, check out Baby Toys, or our Toys section for some great new ideas.

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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  • Kmternes2014

    this was a lot of help for a school projest thanks 🙂

  • nicole

    thanks I was looking for some great ideas for my son as im on maternity leave and currently on the dpb so money is extremely tight until I return back to work. these ideas will come in great and I have made my son a couple of these and as he gets older I will be making more.. thanks for the great tips.

  • Claire Lambert

    We often comment we should have just wrapped an empty box for a present after our babies have had more fun with those 2 items than the expensive plastic toy we bought. Babies love posting, so just simple container play where they can put objects in and out of things keep them busy for ages.

  • Belinda

    Can someone tell me where I can find crinkly paper to stuff toys so it can make as crunchy sound.

  • Bhakti Utama

    some my review collection for great baby toys, hopefully can help to search the best toys for the babies


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