Babies don’t need much to enjoy playing with you, and their favourite toys are not what you might expect (if you don’t yet have kids yourself).
For a baby’s first few months, all you really need is things that stimulate your baby’s senses – sensory toys – and the great thing is that almost all of these can be DIY things you make yourself, or items you already have around home.
So I’ve compiled a list of the top 13 baby sensory toys you can DIY or raid your cupboards for! (It was meant to be 10 but there are just too many good ones!)
Some of the photos below show my daughter, Zoe, so please be sensitive which images you use when sharing this post. Thanks!
1. DIY baby rattles and shaker toys
I’ve made a bunch of these for my daughter Zoe and they’re just too easy to make.
This one is a Kinder Surprise egg with some rice inside, then covered in fabric and sealed for safety with sticky tape. Makes a great sound but she can’t get it open to eat the rice!
This shaker/rattle is made from a broken pearl necklace, confetti from a wedding we attended, and pompoms from the dollar store, contained in an empty formula container (or other stackable container). The lids are sealed shut with glue, don’t worry.
And this shaker/rattle is made from am Eclipse mints container… The tin kind, filled with rice, covered in felt for a different texture “feel”, and sealed with fabric tape…
And this one is the Eclipse bottle type of mints container, with some mints sealed up inside…
And this last shaker/rattle is made from a metal container that contained magnets used in some kind of tech experiment my husband was building.
The box now contains some empty sewing bobbins that are also metal, so it has a great “hard” rattling sound.
2. DIY tag rag
I’ve just finished this one for my 7-month old and she loves it. I mean looooves it!
Basically you could sew or glue ribbons or other “tags” onto anything. I’ve chosen a reusable breast pad.
I wrapped up some little bells from the dollar store inside the breast pads but you don’t have to, if you already have a lot of rattles.
3. DIY handles
Things with handles on them are great! I glued this one from felt, the handles on a birthday present bag I received for my birthday, and I cut out the words off the bag so it says, “Happy Z yay”. 😄
4. Mummy’s old handbags or other things with zippers/zips
For the sake of people saying, “That’s not safe!” I’ve provided some examples below of the type of bags and purses Zoe gets to play with – all washed and the zips carefully checked for the “can I pull this off and swallow it” test.
5. Feather duster
Babies looove the feel of feathery things softly touching their delicate skin.
Feather dusters – clean ones, of course! – are a great toy idea.
6. Egg carton treasure box
Egg cartons are great because they can be a drum or a treasure box for storing other DIY toys like shakers.
But really, any box that you can put things in and take things out of is great once your child can sit up on their own and can pick up their own toys out of said box.
Here’s my photo of an egg carton within a box…
7. DIY pull through discovery toy
I saw this “pipe cleaner colander” idea on Pinterest and thought it looked fun.
My finished product is not pretty, but my baby found it interesting to pull the pipe cleaners from one side to another – or pull them out entirely. So it’s a winner.
8. DIY water feature
Fill a water bottle with confetti, streamers, glitter, rocks… Whatever you like! Then simply add water.
Add some food colouring if you want a coloured version.
Your baby will love watching you shake it before they can hold it up for themselves, and later they’ll learn to roll it to see the things move, or even learn to shake it up themselves.
9. DIY drumkit
To make an instant DIY drumkit, clean out some empty formula tins or other containers (e.g. ice cream tubs) and arrange them around baby.
For different sounds from each drum, put a bit of rice in them, with different amounts of rice in each one.
10. Plastic cookie cutters
Cookie cutters make a fun DIY sensory toy once your child learns the concept of separating objects.
Of course, this game does require you putting it back together every few minutes…
Speaking of cookies, what if you need to bake something, or cook dinner? Give your baby a kitchen utensil to play with.
Exhibit A is my spare spatula…
Exhibit B is some measuring cups and measuring spoons I had lying around.
11. DIY chew toy from reusable breast pads
Don’t know what to do with all your reusable breast pads once you stop breastfeeding?
Don’t worry – set them aside and pull them out any time your baby is teething.
The mirror is an easy DIY sensory toy – and one that every baby loves from their first few months.
If you don’t have a mirror at home that they can sit in front of, use your phone camera! Too easy.
13. Wrapping paper
Wrapping paper is the best fun for newborns – way more fun than the presents themselves!
Warning: This is only safe until your baby is putting everything in their mouth and chewing – then it becomes a choking risk. Plus, you don’t really want your kid eating paper.
Bonus: DIY Memory Quilt
Got a bunch of baby onesies / daddy’s T-shirts / other clothes that no longer fit? You can sew them into a DIY memory quilt, if your baby gives you that much time (haha).
I made the quilt below from 25 of my old T-shirts that no longer fit my post-baby shape. As for how long it took, I hand-sewed this one, so I started it when she was a newborn and finished it when she was 7 months old.
This post is (C) TJ Ryan, 2019. Please credit the author when sharing this post. All rights reserved.