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Making Toys for Babies and Small Children

Updated on August 23, 2017

Home made Toys for Hours of Fun!

When I became pregnant I dreaded the influx of plastic toys that would surely make their way into my home.

I decided to make myself feel better by having a look at all the cool toy-making tutorials online. I found some great ideas for stuffed shapes, soft blocks, mobiles etc and even made a few things myself.

Find out what my little one liked at the bottom of the lens.

Opposite: Toy-making supplies.

Safety First!

Better Safe than Sorry

I'm not sure why anyone would do this but I thought I'd better add it in somewhere - don't leave your small infant unattended with toys.

I'm planning on making my toys to be really sturdy but you can never be too careful.

Make sure anything small on a toy is secured and that your child can't swallow it.

Use materials that are safe for small children and babies (if you're not sure then please research/Google it - if in doubt don't use it).

Find Toy Tutorials Online

There are a lot of Toy Ideas Online

Below I've listed some websites which have lots of different ideas and tutorials for making baby toys.

Further down this page you'll find toy tutorials separated into different groups, such as soft blocks, recycled etc etc.

Soft Blocks and Toys

Below I've added a series of links to tutorials for making your own soft blocks and other toys.

As I have a huge amount of fabric in my stash I'm making lots of different-sized blocks in different fabrics - varying both textures and colors. I also love the idea of adding squeakers and rattles etc to them.

Soft blocks can be stacked up, rolled across the floor, juggled for your baby's amusement, used as footballs and placed on the windowsill of your child's room to add color and decoration. Try using fabrics that complement the colors of your child's room.

Check out the pic of my finished soft baby blocks below.

Opposite: Squares of fabric cut out and ready to be sewn into soft blocks.

Soft Baby Blocks
Soft Baby Blocks
Downtown Pet Supply Medium Large Replacement Squeakers, Bellowed accordion style edges, 1 3/4" diameter, by (20 Pack)
Downtown Pet Supply Medium Large Replacement Squeakers, Bellowed accordion style edges, 1 3/4" diameter, by (20 Pack)

An unexpected squeak is a great surprise for a little one. Just make sure these suckers are sewn on the inside of your toys and impossible to get to!

 
50 Sheet Assorted Acrylic Craft Felt
50 Sheet Assorted Acrylic Craft Felt

Felt is by far the easiest fabric to deal with - it cuts easily, sews easily and it doesn't fray - which means you can leave raw edges! Hurrah!

 

Stuffed Toys

This random toy was inspired by Pluckyfluff's Nozzlers and Nubblers.

Nozzlers and Nubblers are supposed to be made out of wool and then felted in the washing machine. As I hadn't tried crocheting something random like this before I decided to start off with some acrylic yarn, just to get the hang of it. I also added some fluffy eyelash yarn for added texture.

I stuffed this one with some toy stuffing and made a rattle to go inside - out of an old plastic bead pot and some pistachio nut shells!

The felted Nozzlers have much more appeal than this strange thing. The felting process helps close over any holes in the crocheted fabric and makes the finished Nozzler look more like a teddy bear (albeit a mangled one).

My prototype Nozzler (pictured opposite) has a few holes in it where the stuffing could be pulled out.

Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning (Handspun Revolution)
Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning (Handspun Revolution)

Well, this isn't a book about baby toys but I just loved Lexi's Nozzler idea - what an awesome toy for a child.

The best thing about Nozzlers is you don't have to worry about them looking mangled after a few years - they already look like mangled teddies!

But seriously, if you're interested in spinning art yarn I couldn't recommend this book more.

 

Mobiles

I love the idea of making a simple mobile by using 2 wire coat hangers.

I'm thinking of making brightly colored felted shapes to hang from the coat hangers.

Check out the PDF below for more ideas.

Morning Glory 5-Pound Premium Fiberfill
Morning Glory 5-Pound Premium Fiberfill

If you want little stuffed characters on your mobile then toy stuffing like this should be light enough.

 

Choose a Theme for Your Mobile

Cute ideas for making mobiles include:

Rainclouds and raindrops and rainbows

Animals

Fish

Birds

Insects

Boats

Planes

Planets

Recycled Toys

Toys can be expensive so why not make some of your own without spending a thing?

I like the idea of recycling a small drinks bottle to make a rattle - always be sure to glue the lid in place so that whatever you put inside the bottle doesn't become a choking hazard.

Use caution with these ideas - some of them might be more appropriate for older children.

Lo-Tech Ideas

These are really simple to make toy ideas because lets face it - small children often prefer the cardboard box an expensive toy came in to the toy itself.

I love the idea of Play Silks (tutorial linked below). All you need for these are either some plain white silk scarves that you can dye or buy some already colored silk scarves - they can be great for playing dress-up.

Have a look through your fabric stash to see if you have any pieces of fabric that could be used for play.

Toy Effectiveness Update

So how did my Baby Toys Work?

So, despite my plans we do have a house which is semi-filled with plastic toys, but I've come to terms with that now and made my peace.

The soft blocks became more of a thing to bite rather than play with but at least he showed interest in them. When my baby was first showing interest in toys he liked the "Nozzler" I made - I think the brightly-colored nobbly bits really appealed to him.

Both the soft blocks and the "Nozzler" have rattles in them so he also enjoyed shaking them about.

I don't know if this is true of every baby but I think they probably like exploring things that don't belong to them and don't look like toys. Perhaps my next set of toys should be made to look like boring household implements!

I'm currently working on a soft baby book.

I haven't tried any of the mobile tutorials as we rent and I have nowhere to hang one. I like the idea of making some brightly colored bunting though - especially for the first birthday party.

Share Your Thoughts - Reader Feedback.

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    • scarletrose lm profile image

      scarletrose lm 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful lense! Thanks for the mention of my Frugal Baby Tips blog!

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 

      6 years ago

      Priceless! Thanks

    • Ronlove LM profile image

      Ronlove LM 

      6 years ago

      Good Ideas

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      6 years ago from California

      Hi Rachel...you have some great ideas here for soft baby toys, now I would like to know how your baby liked them after a certain age :) *Blessed*

    • profile image

      BestBuys4Baby 

      6 years ago

      Love this lense, home made toys are all the more precious.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Love the list of tutorials for handmade baby toys. And your soft baby blocks turned out terrific! Really cute.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      6 years ago

      I like the ideas! Thanks for the share.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 

      6 years ago

      SWELL Lens!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      6 years ago from Vermont

      My children and now my grandchildren learn so much and hav fun playing with very simple items and home made toys, simple household/kitchen objects and books.

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 

      6 years ago

      I really like these ideas. The best toys are ones that you can make. I remember the ones my grandmother showed us that were simple toys made from discarded household objects. I've decided the same as you have, whenever I have the chance to obtain toys for youngsters, I'm going to create them, rather than buy them.

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 

      7 years ago

      Fun ideas. I never thought of making my own toys! My aunt has two little ones and is really concerned about adding plastic to the world, so she does a lot of consignment shop shopping as well. Or thrift stores. You can buy almost anything used- especially things kids only use for a year or two!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      We really don't need to spend that much on toys for little ones and you certainly are arming us with ideas here. I love your, keep in mind safety tips along the way.

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 

      7 years ago

      I love those stuffed blocks! Congrats!

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