How to Make Toys Out of Common Household Items

By Susan Revermann
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There's no need to run out to the store and blow a whole bunch of money on shiny new toys and gadgets when you can recycle and upcycle common household items with which your child can play. As long as you ensure the safety of each household object, you have numerous toy options. You can gather the supplies and your child can fill in the blanks with his creativity and imagination.

Step 1

Ensure that the household items are safe for kid use. This means you must avoid breakable materials, like glass. Stay away from items that have sharp edges or the potential to pinch. Be aware of strings longer than 7 inches, plastic bags and items smaller than your child’s fist, as these can be a safety issue. Any art supplies that your child will be using must be labeled “non-toxic.”

Step 2

Grab cardboard boxes, empty cereal boxes and shoe boxes with lids. These can be stacked to make walls, towers or cities. Large boxes, like refrigerator boxes, can be transformed into a space ship, rocket or puppet theater.

Step 3

Wash out your plastic sour cream, yogurt or ice cream containers. Place the lids on these containers and use them for stacking or collecting items. You can use a permanent marker to draw faces on them to make little people or creatures.

Step 4

Clean up old food containers and gather up old clothes to use for make believe play. Old ketchup bottles, individual boxes of cereal and oatmeal containers can be used over and over during dramatic play. Your old work clothes, holiday ties, party necklaces, silly hats, gloves and old shoes offer plenty of pretend play opportunities.

Step 5

Rinse out three to 10 old soda bottles and fill them one-quarter full of water. Set them up in a triangle shape and use a rubber ball to go bowling.

Step 6

Collect your family's clean, unmatched socks. Glue on some pom poms, googly eyes, feathers or yarn strands to make puppets. Non-toxic markers can put the finishing touches on your child’s puppets.

Step 7

Gather random art supplies, like old magazines, plastic lids, fabric scraps, empty film canisters, yarn and stickers. Place these supplies in a plastic bin with some non-toxic markers, scissors and craft glue. Pull the bin out for recycled art time.

Step 8

Build a fort out of blankets, pillows, couch cushions and chairs. Use this as a clubhouse, secret super hero lair or a reading area.