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Life doesn't always cost the earth!
Inexpensive Home Made Toys and Activity Ideas
Member Name: kiwiii85
Inexpensive Home Made Toys and Activity Ideas
Advantages: Teach your kids to be creative, new ideas, unique things
Disadvantages: Kids might not find it the same as the latest technology their friends are playing with
With the credit crunch hitting everyone hard, I've made an even bigger effort to find things to do with my 18 month old daughter and 5 year old nephew rather than buying them toys when they tire of the old ones. Here are just a few cheap ideas that should keep you going for a while.
~~ Craft Type Toys ~~
Always keep your empty boxes, cartons, envelopes and newspapers as they will come in handy at some point and it will work out a lot cheaper than constantly buying craft materials or new toys.
It is possible to make almost anything from cardboard or a box, bits of paper and cartons of various sizes and shapes. Here are just a few ideas that you can try. Make an aeroplane - Start with a box or fold cardboard into a box and cut out holes for the windows. Rather than just leaving the windows blank, try putting different coloured pieces of paper over the holes to give it that great look. You can also sit and make the tail and wings and add your own little bits to personalise - much better than buying an aeroplane that your child will tire off after minutes. We've also made cars, lorries, buses, trains and even a digger using a variety of old materials that would have otherwise gone in the bin! Not only do you spend time building it, but you have plenty of time to play with them too - perfect if you're trying to waste away some time in the holidays!
If you really want to save money then make your own glue - just a bit of flour and water to the right consistency can work a treat and means you don't have to buy pritt stick or similar glue.
~~ Collages ~~
Ever wondered what to do with all those catalogues that are out of date or the junk ones you seem to receive through the mail everyday? We used to bin ours but now safe them for sticking and gluing to make pictures for when daddy comes home from work. He has so many that he doesn't know what to do with them - but it's his problem now and not mine!
~~ Old Bottles ~~
My daughter has always loved playing with bottles and chocolate tins (it's my excuse for eating chocolate!) so I try to make them a bit more interesting by adding things to them. I get different sized bottles and add a different thing into each one so they make different noises and we create our own little band. Things that I include are lentils, pasta (different shapes make different noises) water (different colours interest her so add food colouring to them) seeds/nuts for the birds (you can have fun feeding them afterwards) paper clips, pins (though make sure that lid is on very tight!) and rice. These are all things I have lying around anyway so it's no added expense to me and my little girl still loves it. We sit shaking the bottles and hitting the chocolate tins or sauce pans like a drum and she giggles for hours (no I'm not completely nuts!)
~~ Painting ~~
Most kids are fascinated by paints but when the weather is nicer why not do more with it? Instead of using a paintbrush and being careful, why don't you let them outside for some hand and foot painting and see who can make the best picture without a brush? If you're not keen on the hands/feet thing then you can always use potatoes, sponges or other bits and pieces to make different shapes and textures. All of these are great ways of introducing shapes, colours and textures to your children.
Why not include things like pasta and then make things out of the pasta? For example, you can make a little necklace from pasta for a girl or a pretend watch for your little boy. Paint the pasta, add glitter, add paper and so on, each one will be unique.
~~ Water Fun ~~
Why not fill a washing up bowl or something similar with water and let your little one splash about with different utensils and just generally make a mess? This is best for the garden but a laminate floor wipes easy enough and it allows you to do your dishes in peace without a little girl clinging to your legs the entire time!
~~ Playdough ~~
My daughter loves playing with playdough and because she's so young I tend to give her one colour at a time as it gets mixed up very easily and you end up having to go out and buy more. Having let me nephew plays with all of the colours together and finding a lump of multicoloured goo, I decided it was time to learn how to make my own rather than dashing out to the shop every week. The recipe is very simple and it doesn't take very long to make at all. You can change the measurements depending on how much or how little you want to make - it's entirely upto you.
400g of plain flour (I use Asda's own)
600ml of cold water (do make sure it's cold, you don't want to see the finished mess warm water makes!)
150g of salt
a tablespoon of oil
3 teaspoons of tartar
And finally food colouring of your choice.
Now to make it:
First, add the food colouring of your choice to the cold water. Then put all of the other ingredients into a bowl and gradually mix the coloured water in. Put the bowl into the microwave with a lid over the top and put it on for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, take it out and stir it and put it on for another 3 minutes. Do the same again and put it on for another 3 minutes. The mix should come away from the bowl and if it looks the right consistency then you need to let it cool down before using it. We store ours in old pots that previous shop bought playdough came in but I've been informed that you can store it in a zipped freezer bag. It does keep for about a month so this isn't something you should need to do every week!
~~ Picnics ~~
You can have a picnic whether the weather is nice or not and the kids will enjoy a change from the routine - you just have to watch they don't want one every day! If the weather is awful then put a blanket down on the floor and have different plates with different foods. If you want to make it more interesting then have your children close their eyes and guess which food they are eating - just make sure they like it or you can guarantee an end to that game very quickly!
If the weather is nice then go along to your local park with a blanket and some food and let the kids eat and play whilst you sit and relax! At the end of the day, the kids will be tired and you'll have had a nice change of scene that doesn't cost the earth.
~~ Dens ~~
Building a den is simple and a lot cheaper than buying a tent or tunnel for the kids to play in. Simply make your own instead out of blankets, chairs and whatever else you might find lying around. If you make it dark enough inside then you can give your child a torch to play with and they'll love you forever! (well, until you tell them no to something else!)
~~ Bug Hunt ~~
If it's a nice day, then why not take your child out on a bug hunt? They can have great fun lifting stones and rummaging around, even if it isn't something you want to see! It's a learning experience for them at the same time as having fun and if you have bug books at home then you can sit and look at the ones you found.
~~ Conclusion ~~
This is what we get upto on the days we have nothing planned to give her a change from her toys. Hopefully there's an idea here for everyone and it will waste away some of those long holiday hours!
Summary: Some great ideas to develop your kids creative side whilst saving yourself a fortune
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