Here are 15 DIY non-toys for toddlers which are so simple to make and so engaging to play with! Sensory play, fine motor skills, cause and effect, curiosity and investigation skills are all encouraged through these non-toys, and most are cost-free to put together.
We all know that our toddlers and preschoolers love the bright, flashy toys that are marketed so widely in all of the shops, but having only one or two simple functions they quickly tire of them and they accumulate into a pile, hardly to be touched again. There are so many things I regret buying our children over the years and as time has gone on I have pulled out less and less “real” toys for the new babies in our family from the attic, and been amazed at how much they prefer the homemade variety.
What I love most about making “non-toys” or DIY versions of games, is that most can be put together using recycled items, therefore costing next to nothing, and can take just a few minutes to do. Yet the appeal of them seems to last a lot longer and some have been played with for a few years before wearing out. The best part is, they don’t need batteries to operate and are nice and quiet!
Here are 15 of our favourites from over the years, although there are many more in the archives too!
Click the title of each photo to go and read the full instructions (all on this same blog):
Fine motor dropping, tugging and rolling toys
Giant threading and stacking beads
Discovery bottles to explore sounds and sights
Sorting and dropping coloured pom poms
Building sculptures with velcro rollers
Chalkboard table for drawing and mark making
Make connections with pipe cleaners and colanders
Have you got some more favourites you have made that you would add to this list?
Want more toddler play ideas? Search the archives here for inspiration!
Katie | The Surly Housewife says
Great ideas!! My nephews will be toddlers soon so these are super helpful. Thanks for sharing!!
Hi there, I love the light box idea! so simple and so effective. Can you tell me the dimensions of the box you used? Many thanks Simone 🙂
Alison B says
I love activities made from everyday objects, will definitely be trying some of these out as my boy grows up, thank you!!
I love love love your ideas!!!
Brilliant! Great suggestions! I am sharing!
I love that all of your ideas are made of things you probably already have around the house.