How often have you seen this happen around the holidays? The parents have spent a small fortune on the latest, greatest toy. After a few grins and giggles, the parents take the toy out of its huge box and proceed to put it together. In the meantime, the child finds the box to be quite fascinating. By the time the toy is fully put together, the child is so engrossed in the box that he or she has no desire to play with the expensive toy.

This scenario is replayed in house after house across the country. The lesson is, children are easily entertained and homemade toys can be created from every day materials that can easily keep their attention. Here are some ideas for easy to create homemade toys.

One idea for a homemade toy is a cardboard box car. Take a large cardboard box and cut a hole in the top and cut out the bottom. Decorate it like a car, using paper plates for the wheels and steering wheel. Your child will enjoy “driving” this car around the house!

Create a hand made bubble blower out of a toilet paper roll. Wrap the roll with aluminum foil. Make the bubbles by mixing liquid dish soap with water. Dip one end of the roll in the mixture and blow gently through the other end. You should be able to easily create very large bubbles!

Create a scoop ball game out of a one-quart plastic milk jug. Cut the jug in half and save the handle side. Toss a ball back and forth and use the jug to catch the ball.

Model planes can be made out of the Styrofoam trays that meat is packaged on. Cut out a body, wings and tail shape. Use a knife to cut a slit in the body for the wings and tail. Because the Styrofoam is so light, these planes can soar for a decent distance.

A personalized homemade toy is the homemade puzzle. Have your child create a drawing or other piece of art. Glue the artwork to a piece of cardboard. After it is dry, turn the cardboard over and trace out puzzle piece shapes. Carefully cut out these shapes. Your child will have fun putting together his own artwork. Store the puzzle in a Ziploc bag.

A homemade beanbag toss game is another fun and active toy to create. Take a sturdy piece of cardboard and cut holes in it to make the targets. Be sure the holes are large enough that the beanbag will fit. Then make some beanbags. Take scraps of material and fill them with beans or pasta. Hand sew them shut. Have your child decorate the target and assign points to the holes. Then have fun tossing the beanbags at the target!

Whatever toy you decide to make, be sure to include your child in the process of making the toy. Not only will you create a fun toy, but you will also create life-long memories with your child. Using what would be trash to make a fun toy also helps to protect our environment.

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