10 Simple DIY Baby Toys to Help Them Learn

Updated October 13, 2021
Baby girl observing a toy

Homemade infant toys can be just as fun as store-bought toys. DIY toys for babies cost less, are environmentally friendly because they are made from upcycled goods, and they boast that special personal touch because they are made with love. These ten baby toys will keep your little ones engaged and entertained.

Easy Homemade Baby Toys

A good rule of thumb for homemade toys is to keep each toy simple and safe. When considering homemade toys for your baby, adhere to these safe infant toy guidelines.

Following are some easy, fun, and inexpensive ideas for DIY toys for babies. While these toys are suitable for small babies up to one-year-old, older kids may enjoy these toys as well. As you should with most toys, be sure to monitor your baby closely when they play to ensure their safety.

Blocks of All Shapes and Sizes

Colorful handmade block toy for babies

Blocks are timeless toys for babies and older children alike. While wooden and plastic blocks are popular choices of toys, they are hard-surfaced and might not be suitable for small babies who can get hurt by sharp edges and heavy wood or other material. You can create soft blocks out of everyday materials. Look around your home and collect small boxes. Think about the boxes that tea and other kitchen items come in. Fill the boxes with newspaper or similar materials to give them a bit of weight, but not too much. Cover them in felt, fabric, or material you might use to cover a book. Create blocks in many shapes and sizes.

Sensory Play Bags

Sensory bags provide babies with plenty of stimulation, but none of the mess. They are a win for both parents and tots! To create a DIY sensory bag, fill a Ziploc bag with clear gel and glitter, beads, small balls, or other items that will move about in the bag freely. Secure the bag tightly, so none of the contents come out. Tape the bag to a surface on all sides. Babies can pat and push the bag, moving the objects around as they slide about in the gel.

First Felt Book

Cute fairy tale scene in felt

It's never too early to introduce your baby to books. You can create a felt book that's tailor made for young babies' love of textures and patterns. Felt books are safe and soft for infants to run their fingers over. Use sewing skills to create bright shapes, contrasting patterns, pretty rainbows and raindrops, and even simple animals on the pages of the felt book.

Stimulating Sensory Board

Baby playing with diy sensory board

DIY sensory boards are popular toys for babies because they are simple to create, excellent for motor skills, and full of objects that stimulate an infant's mind. Fasten a heavy-duty wood board to a space in your home where it will not come dislodged and hurt your child. On the board, add any variety of knobs, pulls, switches, buttons, and textures. As your baby grows, replace the items on the board with more developmentally appropriate items to advance your little one's skills and curiosity.

Scrunchy Socks

Pair of handmade socks gnomes

Socks are not just for keeping tiny toes warm and toasty. They also make excellent sensory toys. Fill a clean sock with material that makes a crinkling sound when your baby squeezes or presses on it. Close the sock up tightly by sewing it shut. Consider using brightly patterned socks, as vibrant, contrasting colors will engage and delight babies.

Zipper Board

Once babies are a bit older, they begin to hone in on those fine motor skills, grasping and pulling on objects around them. Zippers are wonderful mechanisms to help tots perfect the pincer grasp and pull items upwards and downwards. Cut zippers from older objects no longer in use. Look at backpacks, pencil bags, and sweatshirts for colorful zippers in need of being upcycled. Fasten the zippers to a sturdy piece of cardboard using hot glue. Be sure to only glue the portion surrounding the zipper, so the zipper can freely move back and forth.

A Tugging Box

Homemade cardboard toy for baby

Babies love to explore materials that they can tug and pull on. You can create a tug box from a cardboard box and several objects like ribbons, pipe cleaners, and scarves. You will want to poke holes throughout the box. Thread the materials to be pulled through the holes, creating knots at the ends. Babies can busy themselves by pulling the ribbons, scarves, and pipe cleaners back and forth. Before playtime, inspect the box and make sure no portion of the knotting is coming undone, and that the box has no tears.

Flying Squirrel Stuffed Animal

Every little one needs a lovey to hold tight to. Stuffed animals that are made with your own hands and heart are extra special and easy to make. A flying squirrel stuffed animal takes minimal sewing skills and, with the addition of safety eyes, poses little issue with choking hazards.

Wooden Rattle

Baby with Wooden Rattle

Rattles are timeless toys for infants. They explore them with their mouths and shake them about, reacting to the sounds that come from the moving object. You can make your own wooden rattle for your baby, as well as a few extras to give away as interesting and personal baby shower gifts. All you need are a few simple materials such as wooden dowels and caps, non-toxic black and white paint and glue, and a miter box and saw. This rattle looks simple in design, but it will catch a baby's attention with its contrasting colors.

Elevator Button Press Board

Babies love to press buttons, so creating a board where they can press away is an easy and stimulating toy that will encourage the development of fine motor skills. Using a lightweight board or a cardboard box, create a mock-up button pad that you would see in an elevator. Use ordinary crafter googly eyes for the buttons. These often come unstuck over time, which could then pose a choking hazard, so glue them tightly onto the board with hot glue. Use circular, numerical stickers to turn the googly eyes into elevator buttons. Let your baby push on them till their heart's content. Older kids might enjoy using this toy by placing it in smaller spaces such as a closet, pretending to work and ride an elevator.

Key Takeaways for Making Infant Toys

When it comes to creating stimulating toys for your tot, you will want to keep a few ideas at the forefront of your mind. First of all, they must be safe. Never use pieces that are small and could pose a choking hazard. When creating DIY toys for babies, ensure all parts and components are completely secure. Little ones tend to mouth everything, and parts that aren't completely fastened could come loose and create a dangerous situation. Any paint or material used in fashioning infant toys should be non-toxic and safe for children. Never create toys with sharp edges or toys that could fall over onto your child. Lastly, create DIY baby toys that are entertaining. Use contrasting colors that babies can discern; and make sure toys are a good size to allow infants to grasp them easily. With safety and creativity in mind, babies can be kept happy and busy with homemade toys.

10 Simple DIY Baby Toys to Help Them Learn