frugal toys for baby

DSC03945 You don’t need to spend a lot of money on toys for baby. Oh, I know it is tempting, there is so much fun looking stuff out there. But there is a lot of truth in the old idea that babies prefer to play with the empty box.

There are plenty of things that you will already have lying around the house that will keep bub entertained for months. In the picture, the little fella found that stainless steel bowl fascinating for a good half hour while I sat a had a cuppa.

Baby’s number one favourite toy will be you. But if you are wanting some parent time out and hoping to stimulate bub’s minds and creativity with independent play, then below are some frugal ideas for toys that you can find around the home:

  • Bubs own hands and feet (yep that’s all they need to keep occupied sometimes)
  • Pieces of fabric particularly if you can get different ‘feels’
  • Empty bottles with rice (ensure the lid is well sealed or glued/ taped into place)
  • egg carton (this is great a great toy, it opens and closes and there are all those holes to explore)
  • fabric bag or old stocking filled with crinkly plastic (clean chip packet for example) inside (secure tightly)
  • empty bottles filled with water and glitter (again, well sealed)
  • Tupperware containers
  • measuring cups
  • plastic cups or bowls (or tins) that stack
  • plastic cups
  • wooden spoons
  • paper (the little fella loves to scrunch paper but he tends to eat a bit of this so be prepared to pick wads of it out of mouths)
  • Cardboard carton boxes
  • homemade wooden blocks
  • empty formula tins (to bang on, to put things in and tip them out again. Cut a hole or a slot in the lid so that bub can deposit clean plastic milk container lids into his formula tin bank)
  • Dangle toys, cartons, scrunched up foil etc, from a broom stick positioned over two chairs for bub to swipe at.
  • TV remotes (without the TV) can be good with lots of little buttons to play with (just make sure the batteries are either removed or not leaking)
  • Toilet rolls
  • empty boxes

When looking for everyday items that can become toys, just ensure that there are no sharp edges, they are big enough not to be a choking hazard and that they are safe to chew. If you are using recycled tins, clean them well, remove labels check the edges (inside and out) to make sure they are not sharp and hammer them down and cover well with tape to make them safe.

If you’re wanting to get crafty, below are some great tutorials for baby toys that you can make yourself.

Cloth Softie Book @ Do ah Diddy
Cloth rings @ Make it Love it
Matching Blocks @ Make it Love it 
Crinkly taggie toy @ Simple Gifts
Humphrey the Bonzo Dog @ Bustle and Sew
Taggie Ball @ What I live for
Taggie Blankie @ Melissa Sews
Taggie Animal @ Homemade by Jill
Taggie Cube @ What I live for
Quiet time book @ My Little Gems
Oopsie the Octopus @ Moda Bake Shop
Car roll and mat @ Punkin Patterns
Pocket Book @ Expect Moore
Quiet time book @ Modest Mavern
Quiet Time Book @ Sew Can Do
Bean Bag Numbers @ The Ideas Room
Baby Beach Ball @ Purl Bee
Quick Teething Ring @ Patchy Apple

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  1. says

    I can definitely second the containers thing. Some time around 1 year Little T went mad for containers, and it’s pretty much all he played with all day. Pots, plastic containers, empty boxes, anything container-y, and any bit of stuff to put inside them. Apparently it’s pretty common for that age.

    • says

      Hi Nadiah, Great to hear from you.
      Yes, there are photos of my brother and I getting into the kitchen cupboards. We went through that too.

      BTW, I love your DIY brochure holder!