In their preschool years, kids thrive on the freedom to experiment and explore as they play. Toys with little detail invite all sorts of pretending. For example, an ordinary cardboard box can become a rocket ship, a turtle shell or a cave – all at the child’s whim. A worn-out sock can become a puppet and become a variety of characters with few or no changes.
On the other hand, toys or play objects that are full of detail offer children a single use only. That’s why plain wooden blocks, large simple cars and trucks and materials like clay and finger paint have retained their age-old popularity.
Toys and activities based on household objects are usually inexpensive and can be designed to appeal to a variety of ages. They may not last long, but most will serve the length of the child’s interest. If a homemade toy turns out to be a favorite, additional ones can be easily made as needed.
It is extremely important when making homemade toys that you keep your child’s safety in mind. Check all toys and activities for:
Popular homemade toys include modeling dough, milk-carton or shoebox blocks, meat-tray sewing cards, paper-bag or sock puppets and 2-liter-bottle bowling sets.
Children have proven over and over that common household objects can have as much play value as an array of expensive or elaborate toys. Parents with a bit of creativity, an eye for safety and an adequate supply of enthusiasm can provide their family with hours of inexpensive and education fun.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture