Making baby toys

Boy holding a home made rocket

My New Year's Resolution is to do more craft activities with the children. It's not that we don't do them now, but I have to confess to being rather lazy and not getting things sorted out. We normally have unfinished aeroplanes that languish around the patio for weeks on end until I decide to call them rubbish and get rid of them (or not, I think there's a green painted plastic bottle that's been out there since the summer.)

I think that letting kids do their own thing is great, but we do end up with them cutting out magazines for days on end. And we resort to Cbeebies magazines quite a bit. All of that is fine, but what they need is a bit of inspiration.

So with that in mind, I 'created' another 'doing box' (read cardboard box that I can fill with junk) and filled it with used christmas wrapping paper, lolly pop sticks, cardboard boxes, toilet roll inners and of course, some sellotape, scissors and glue.

A box full of paper

Our first project is to make the babies some toys to play with. These are going to be just like the glamorous and sophisticated ones that I saw on pinterest (ahem). OK, let's make them noisy and colourful and lovingly done by their older brothers (aged 3 and 5). So, not exactly like the beautiful pinterest ones, more rustic.

Here goes. Inspired by Galen's rocket rattle that he made his baby cousin a year ago (an empty coke bottle with some shells inside it. He was very proud of it, I thought it looked like rubbish and was a bit worried my sister might be offended by being expected to fit it in her small luggage allowance on the way home. But Little G loved it and we even saw her playing with it months afterwards.)

A home made rocket

First we made 2 orange rockets. We used old plastic bottles and covered them in old orange wrapping paper. Dante filled his with pasta and Galen filled his with rice. (Best to fill them before you wrap them I found, or didn't and putting the lids back on whilst wrapped was a little tricky.) Dante then drew some windows on his and stuck on some stars (with sellotape so the babies couldn't pull them off.) Dante's has got red flames coming out of the bottom. I'm not sure that's going to last very long but that's only important because, being 3, he'll get upset when it gets pulled off. Galen drew some windows and stuck on some squidgy bits that he cut out of the inside of his advent calendar. The idea is that the babies press them and they make a noise. A great idea, but I think the babies at 14 months might be a bit young for that but we'll see. I stuck some little flames at the bottom for him as he was busy colouring in lolly sticks.

A home made baby toy

Next was the 'super duper roller coster baby toy'. It's made out an old cartoon of icing sugar. Essentially a thick cardboard box with a plastic lid. I wrapped it in elegant paper (pinterest eat your heart out). And then threaded ribbons through from either side so that the babies can pull on them. Babies of 14 months love textures and exploring things. They will love the ribbons. (Not so easy to get in, my first abortive attempt was with the same bottles as the rockets but you need something with a wide opening so that you can thread them out the other side.) And yes, the babies did love the ribbons. But not as much as the lolly pop sticks that we put in the top. (Which were quite difficult to get in, I nearly cut my hand off and got accused of being grumpy by my angelic children.) Yes, the babies loved the lolly pop sticks. They took them out and tried to eat them. Which would have been fine, except we'd coloured them in to make them more exciting. Which they obviously were.

A home made rattle

Lastly, Galen made a little rattle (all by himself). He wrapped up a mustard powder tin and put some pasta in it.

So, a very successful start to our new craft enterprises. The boys were so absorbed in what they were doing that I even managed to hang the washing out without hearing them scream or shout at each other. And the babies loved their toys. Great for little fingers to practise fine motor skills. As well as exploring noises, throwing and learning the finer details of applied rocket science.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and wish you all a wonderful 2014.

Babies playing with a toy

Children examining a toy

A baby with green lips