13 Ideas for toys on a budget

Kids are happy to just play and really don’t need big, expensive, brand-name toys to keep them occupied. Here are some cheap and easy things you can make at home to keep them amused for hours.
Kids are happy to just play and really don’t need big, expensive, brand-name toys to keep them occupied.

Here are some cheap and easy things you can make at home to keep them amused for hours.

13 Ideas for toys on a budget


1. Artwork

Nothing beats creating your own piece of art!

No need for fancy colouring books, just a simple piece of paper, pencils, crayons, pens, homemade paints, glue and any collage materials you can lay your hands on.

Why not ask your kids questions about their artwork too and find out a little more about what they've created.

2. Balloons

Not all kids like balloons, especially when they pop, but balloons are perfect for chasing around and trying to catch.

3. Bubbles

Kids love bubbles! Why not save some money and make your own bubbles at home.

Try out our easy to make bubble mixture recipe.

4. Cardboard boxes

Large cardboard boxes are great for converting into cars and buses, or if you’re more creative you can cut out windows and doors to make a fort or dolls house.

Small boxes are fun too for playing supermarkets, using as a doll's beds or even as building blocks.

5. Clay

Kids love playing with clay and making their own creations.

Why not  make your own clay at home.

From pots and animals, to Christmas tree decorations, letters, numbers, fossils, ornaments and more.

6. Drums

Kids love to make noise and it’s easy to make your own drum kit out of saucepans, pots and wooden spoons.

Try making these tin can drums with things you have at home.

7. Kites

Make a really simple kite using a light carrier bag.

Just get the bag and tie the handles to a stick. Perfect for a windy day!

Get your kids to run around outside holding the stick and bag up high so that it fills with air.

8. Paper mache

Create your own paper mache heads, balls or Easter eggs!

Simply put glue onto a balloon, tear up small strips of paper and stick onto the glue. Repeat a couple of times to ensure the whole balloon is covered. Leave to dry.

Once the paper mache is dry, pop the balloon using a sharp needle and then paint a face on to it or a design of your own.

You can even stick on some wool strands for hair!

9. Play dough

It’s cheap and easy to make your own play dough.

You can add food colouring for different colours and it can be stored in an air tight container to use another day.

Have a go at making play dough with these easy play dough recipes.

10. Potato stamps

A tried and tested classic! Potato stamps are lots of fun and cheap and easy to make at home.

Toddlers and preschoolers will love getting their hands messy and creating some great pieces of art.

11. Rattles & shakers

To make your own rattle fill a plastic milk bottle with stones, beads, dried pasta or rice and tape up the lid securely.

You can use a variety of different sized bottles and fillings to create different sounds.

Alternatively fill a clear plastic bottle with water and add glitter and/or plastic shapes for your little one to tip from side to side.

12. Shaving foam paint

Try this recipe for puffy shaving foam paint.

It’s the perfect messy play activity.

Great for baths and shower times and playing with on highchair trays. Kids will love it!

13. Slime

Kids LOVE slime and this is such an easy messy play/sensory substance to make using simple household ingredients.

They’ll have lots of fun stretching it, moulding it, rolling into balls, throwing it into the air and letting it splat on the table!

Check out these slime recipes.

More kids activities articles to enjoy:

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Make your own bubble mixture

Make your own bubble mixture

Homemade bubbles are lots of fun! They are also very easy and cheap to make with this bubble mixture recipe. Blowing bubbles will get your toddler or preschooler outside, popping and chasing the bubbles as they run around.
Make your own bubble wrap runway

Make your own bubble wrap runway

So easy to do at home and guaranteed hours of fun. The kids will love running, crawling, sliding and skidding up and down their own bubble wrap runway.

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