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Homemade Toys

 
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I thought it would be neat to make a list of homemade toys, specifically resources for how to make them.  I had some lovely wooden toys as a kid, that an uncle made, which I recall fondly.  Nowadays it seems most people buy plastic toys, which I suppose will last a really long time, but besides being rotten for the environment and containing endocrine disruptors, they get really gross and oily and grimy.

Here is a website with lots of free crocheted toys.  People get very creative!  These are popular in Japan.
Amigurami Patterns (Crocheted Toys)

Here is a page on Instructables that includes many wooden toys including a boomerang, something like a generic Jenga, tic tac toe, a ball labyrinth, toy animals, roller coaster, trains and airplanes:
Wooden Toys on Instructables

This site had lots of different sorts of toys, not all particularly eco-friendly, but many reuse ideas, and a link to homemade playdough, which I think is flour salt and water if I recall correctly...: Lots of Homemade Toy Ideas

I saw another post where someone made a homemade tangram.  I don't know the directions, but this is what the tangram puzzle looks like: Tangram Wikipedia Page

As I was looking online for instructions for more homemade toys, changing my search terms around, other types of toys came up.  Homemade dog toys, homemade rabbit toys, homemade cat toys, and then, homemade sex toys...! :-O

Any more sites with directions for nifty toys?  I used to have a really wonderful little book on how to make traditional toys, I cannot recall the title!  It was a slim book, hardcover, with yellow on the cover.  Had old things like ball-into-cone, the bullroarer American Indian noisemaking toy that you swing, and little wooden dolls of sorts.


Thanks for any additions to this list!  Pics of classic toys would also be awesome.
 
Kim Goodwin
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Also, does anyone know how to make one of these types of slide whistles?  Wooden Slide Whistle example

I'm also fascinated by pottery ocarinas.  I would have loved something like that as a kid...but my mom hated noise, so there you go!  hah

If you had any favorite toys as a kid, please post!


 
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I wish I could say I've made more toys, but the extent of my toymaking has thus far been knitting hackysacks. I followed this pattern (https://diagnosisknitter.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/im-so-lazy-heres-a-hacky-sack-pattern/) and knit them in wool, which I then felted just enough to make sure the lentils didn't fall out. To felt it, I used a wire-bristle brush and brushed it under hot water, and then threw the thing in the dryer for a few minutes. It worked great!
 
pollinator
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I love hand-made gifts, not only toys for children, but all kinds of gifts. I'm from a family with creative genes, we all like making things ourselves.
When I was a child my favourite toy was a knitted stuffed animal, it was called Eeyore; it didn't look exactly like the well-known Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh, but I didn't mind. I don't know who made it for me, but it was very well made. Inside the knitted skin was a cotton fabric. Some times there were holes in the skin, but then my mother repaired it (like darning socks), the stuffing never came out because of the fabric inside. I had my Eeyore for many years!
 
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For those kids who want to play outside in a sandpile....http://www.toymakingplans.com/index.php.....trucks,planes,trains, and boats.....
 
Nicole Alderman
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I recently learned how to make little bendable fairy dolls (Waldorf-style). I was really amazed that I could make my kids their own dolls! Here's the tutorials I used: http://faithandstring.com/fairy-princess-tutorial/ and https://www.themagiconions.com/2010/12/lets-make-flower-fairies.html. Editing to add some more tutorials I found: http://theenchantedtree.blogspot.in/2010/10/new-bendy-dolls-and-tutorial.html and http://treasuresfortots.blogspot.in/2009/10/how-to-make-tiny-fairy-doll.html. It's neat to see all the different ways people make them. Searching through Etsy for waldorf fairies is also a great way to get some inspiration on designs.

And, here's some of my fairies! They're really fun to make!





 
R Jay
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Recycle your tin cans:

https://archive.org/details/makingtincantoys00thatiala

In pdf,epub, and kindle formats
 
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You can find a lot of information on toy making (including books on toy crocheting, wood working, knitting etc) if you start looking in the world of Waldorf Education. Look here for example www.waldorfbooks.com/ clicking into Joyous Living then Children's Crafts or Family Crafts.  You can find a lot of these books online and if you have a local Waldorf school they may offer evening or weekend workshops.
 
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What a cool thread! I love making little stuffed animals (aka softies) for my kids.  I got the idea from a book called 'Countryside Softies'. I really like how eco-friendly, non-plastic, and unique they are. I've made individual ones for each of my kids to fit their personality's. My oldest got an otter...my son got a skunk, he's an adorable mischievious stinker! https://www.etsy.com/listing/488416187/little-black-skunk-softie-made-to-order ...this is a picture of his skunk.
And this is my daughter's owl with it's habitat bag... https://www.etsy.com/listing/496476102/owl-softie-small-with-habitat-woodland

I would highly reccomend the book for anyone interested in making some toys for their kids. The softies have a lovely vintage feel and look to them, and they are a lot of fun to make!
 
gardener
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Very nice!

I am a little more primitive than ya all🤣

I found sticks, acorns, pine cones, and pretty leaves wandering in the house and getting used as much as the expensive plastic stuff.

Flowers in the garden and interesting leaves get used when we are out doors about as much as the plastic toys. I had a flowering house plant for a while so my daughter could pick flowers indoors.

With an old rubber band, a stick can be made into a bow or sling shot.  We used those as kids.

White clover makes necklaces. We did that as older kids.

A large branch a sword or staff.  A small one a wand. I've turned these into gifts. I think there's a picture in the homemade gift post in the frugality forum of the wand.

Certain rocks draw and different colors too which is exciting.

A friend had a party and with some willow branches, string, and beads the kids made dream catchers.

A feather is a tickler.

A bin of potting soil must be sealed because otherwise it's too enticing for little arms to reach and feel.  

Sticks and  old blankets can turn into a fort.

Gourds and pumpkins are also intriguing.

These things aren't perhaps the most marketable toys,  but -and maybe it's because so much is plastic now- these things are especially exciting.

I grew up with a craft room and have one now.  It's like Thomas Edison's lab.  There's a little bit of everything in there (not mercury tho!) and as kids we were taught basic skills and cautions to use it. When my daughter had friends over, they almost always disappear into that room making things out of scraps of wood, fabric, paint,  etc.  I've heard this is better for brain development than a toy with specific purposes or uses.

As for my teeny fella, he loves looking at house plants and sometimes kicking at the leaves. I guess I could give him a slice of hardwood branch to chew, but we have so many other exciting things and 2nd generation toys,  I haven't seen the point.  

I'm bad at instructions for construction, but I guess link over to the homemade gifts in the frugality forum for more stuff like this.


 
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WOW! I didn't think there are so many people who like homemade toys! Personally I've never tried to do them, but I think, it can be a good thing to do together with my son. He is only 2,9 now, but time passes fast, so I'll bear the idea in mind. Thanks!
 
pollinator
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Try clicking on this link...

https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&biw=1130&bih=456&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=2m3bWqX7A9HYjwPrg6joDg&q=%22homemade+wooden+toys%22&oq=%22homemade+wooden+toys%22&gs_l=psy-ab.12..0j0i30k1j0i8i30k1j0i24k1l2.11961.13616.0.16646.11.11.0.0.0.0.100.883.10j1.11.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.3.285....0.5Juqizw49io
 
Nicole Alderman
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I've recently (okay, three days ago) started needle felting little toys. Here's the dragon I made for my son. Needle felting is a blast...until you keep breaking your needles. I've broken six so far!

 
pollinator
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I know there are several books on the subject of making wooden toys.  I used one 2 1/2 decades ago while making toys for my son.
I was living near Wichita, KS and picked up a couple from the Wichita library.
As I recall the books ranged from simple enough for a monkey to stuff so complicated Roy Underhill and Norm Abrams would find them challenging.
 
Phil Swindler
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I spent some spare time turning old junk into new toys.
I took the cushions from an old sofa that was destined for the dump.
I took a long sharp knife and cut them into brick shaped pieces.
Then they got several coats of latex paint.
We now have light weight, relatively soft bricks for the grand kids to build with when they come over.
It takes several very light coats as opposed to moderate or heavy coats.
Too much paint at once and it just soaks in and wastes paint.
Light coats stay on the surface.
If you have a place to scrounge free paint (which we do) the whole project doesn't have to cost anything but your time.
 
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Some times the simplest things can be a toy you didn't have to make yet provides hours of entertainment. I bought a bag of silk flowers from a thrift store. I had wooden beads around plus markers and pipe cleaners. The rest was scrounged from button box or trash. Anyway my grand daughters took apart the flowers and re made them into flower fairies. Beads with faces drawn on were heads. Petals and flowers were hats or wings. Pipe cleaners were legs. Buttons and plastic bits off the flowers were feet and hands. That night I went to bed thinking they were asleep... but when I woke up there were fairies everywhere. My sewing machine was a lit up fairies house with furnature... There was a fairies ring where a little girl sat surrounded by her flower bits and finished fairies danced everywhere...
 
miriam hawkins
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Another home made toy was to dress Barbie. We found info on line to make Barbie clothes out of socks. I had to do the first few to get the girls started. I used old socks on hand then bought socks at a thrift store outlet and we spent hours designing clothes for Barbie. I think other dolls and possibly stuffies could be dressed with socks. It was cheap, fairly easy and kept the girls busy designing wardrobes. The dollar store some times has packages of colored socks. White gets boring fast. The variety of socks from the thrift was a lot more fun... No two alike.
 
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Some easy to make puzzles are pentominoes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentomino
and the soma cube: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma_cube
 
Phil Swindler
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Dave Smythe wrote:Some easy to make puzzles are pentominoes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentomino
and the soma cube: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma_cube



Cool.
The pentominoes look like homemade tetris.
I've played that one a lot.
This looks like it could fun to do with kids.
 
pollinator
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My favorite homemade toy ever was when my dad brought home a small bundle of shingles and nails and a hammer. I banged together a Barbie house. I was in fourth grade.
 
pollinator
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Here are some simple wood gifts I have made, the rattle has captured rings made from a single piece of wood on a lathe, the rhino is a pull toy made with very basic tools.
20171222_053747.jpg
Rhino pull toy
Rhino pull toy
20171222_053801.jpg
Rattle
Rattle
 
miriam hawkins
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A cool 'toy' that kept my son busy was some clay, a hammer and an anvil. He had watch blacksmiths prior and we found a book on blacksmithing. I'm thinking he was 8.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm so glad this thread came back! Yesterday my daughter wanted me to make her another dress for the doll her aunt gave her. And, the whole process reminded me of all the hand sewn and knitted cloths my grandmother made for me when I was little. She made my Barbie clothes, and also made my doll a matching leopard Halloween costume, and a night gowns that matched the ones she made me, and even a little overall set. I loved changing her clothes, and loved that they were clothes my grandma made.

(This is the doll pattern dress I used)
20201201_200601.jpg
12 inch Baby Alive doll dress pattern
My daughter's doll, Cindy, in her new dress
 
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When we were kids my dad made us a three story Barbie/doll house out of wood. It even had a Swiss chalet style deck, a fancy sloped roof, and stairs. It was far better than the pink plastic crap houses from the store.

EDITED to add 1970's pic of the dollhouse.

My mom loved to make things out of papier-mâché so she used cardboard tubes from oatmeal or toilet paper, plus cardboard boxes from Velveeta cheese, etc. as the base forms for the Barbie house furniture. The couch even had 1970's purple and brown plaid fabric glued on as "upholstery" that even covered some actual foam cushioning for the seat of the couch.

Since I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, Seafair is (was?) a big deal with hydroplane races on Lake Washington (the 25-mile long lake that separates Seattle from the suburbs where I grew up). One of our favorite toys was made out of a scrap of wood cut out in a hydroplane shape. Neighborhood kids would use a rope to tie the hydro to the backs of their bikes and drag them on the ground behind their bikes in fast pedaling hydro races!

There were loads of doll clothes sewn by my mom, too.

Then, for my kids, my parents made a play tipi which was a HUGE hit! They sourced the wooden poles, drilled holes and fastened them together just so. Plus it had a natural colored canvas covering cut and sewn to fit by my mom, along with actual leather lacing to tie things together in all the right places. My mom even made a circular fleece mat that doubled as a slumber bag that was the perfect size for inside the tipi. The canvas covering was lost, but the poles were still intact and went to my daughter for my grandson. My daughter has been sewing a new canvas cover for the poles which is pretty awesome.


Homemade-dollhouse.jpg
Homemade dollhouse
Homemade dollhouse
 
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It's been a few years since the posting but someone was looking for how to on the clay ocarinas.

The best resource I've found is the book Clay Whistles by Janet Moniot.

It's out of print so you'll have to go the used book route.

Here's a link to the very best used book search engine with the info for this book already loaded:

https://addall.com/SuperRare/UsedRare.cgi?title=&author=moniot&title=clay+whistles&keyword=&isbn=&exclude=&binding=Any+Binding&min=&max=&dispCurr=USD&order=PRICE&ordering=ASC&match=Y&timeout=15&store=ABAA&store=Alibris&store=Abebooks&store=AbebooksAU&store=AbebooksDE&store=AbebooksFR&store=AbebooksUK&store=Amazon&store=AmazonCA&store=AmazonUK&store=AmazonDE&store=AmazonFR&store=Antiqbook&store=Biblio&store=BiblioUK&store=Booksandcollectibles&store=Ebay&store=EbayUK&store=EbayFR&store=LRB&store=ZVAB&via=used
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:When we were kids my dad made us a three story Barbie/doll house out of wood. It even had a Swiss chalet style deck, a fancy sloped roof, and stairs. It was far better than the pink plastic crap houses from the store.

EDITED to add 1970's pic of the dollhouse.



My mom loved to make things out of papier-mâché so she used cardboard tubes from oatmeal or toilet paper, plus cardboard boxes from Velveeta cheese, etc. as the base forms for the Barbie house furniture. The couch even had 1970's purple and brown plaid fabric glued on as "upholstery" that even covered some actual foam cushioning for the seat of the couch.


In the upper left you can see the plaid Velveeta cheese box couch.
In the lower right you can see a papier-mâché table made out of a toilet paper tube and probably an oatmeal carton lid.
And check out that groovy 1970's Barbie and the Jetsons' style plastic kitchen thing-a-ma-jig!
The picture was too overexposed to show the stairs in the kitchen that go up to the deck (where an Ernie puppet is hanging).
The smart design on the sides having that open section between to strips of wood allowed for more play access and imaginary doors.

(That's my little sis, maybe age 4 or so, on her knees in front of the dollhouse.)

 
Kim Goodwin
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Looking for a book on animal tracks for a 4 year old niece, I stumbled upon some neat potentially homemade "toys" that are labeled as being Montessori school tools.  I didn't go to a Montessori school, so I don't know if that's a marketing ploy or not (could someone who knows about this confirm for my curiosity's sake?).

But check these learning tools out.  I would have loved this as a kid because I liked learning and figuring things out.





I would love this animal puzzle still!  As an adult!  I need to make something like this puzzle, that is so cool.



And here's a fantastic idea, amigurami food.  Lots of us on this thread could make these toys.  What a great idea.  I think I'd add a small crocheted rug with places to put the veggies - like a toy garden.



All of those are on Etsy, too.  I'm amazed people will buy things like this -  things that my grandmother and uncles made for my sister and I and we really didn't fully appreciate how special they were.  Times they are a changin'.  :-)

 
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I gave my kids a pile of one inch PVC pipes with different connectors. I cut the pipes to certain length so if they make a roof with 135 degree connector the ends will match. They got creative and were  busy for hours.
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