Creating Homemade Toys

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I love homemade toys. And I love DIY projects. There is something special about a toy that is made with a particular little one’s interests in mind. Over the past year, we have created some wonderful homemade gifts for Baby E, that she has truly loved. I am thankful for Pinterest, and the inspiration that it provides. And I am extremely grateful for my Dad, who is a fabulous carpenter and can turn any project idea into reality!

Here are some of the toys we have made over the past year:

Homemade kitchen and accessories: Last Christmas, my Mom, Dad and I worked together to create an incredible wooden kitchen for Baby E. It was definitely a joint effort … and a huge hit! Baby E still plays with the kitchen almost daily. Check out my post about the DIY wooden kitchen project, and how it all came together. Since then, we have added a few accessories to the kitchen. I created a restaurant menu for Baby E, using magazine clippings of all of the plastic food items that we have in the kitchen. Baby E loves having us visit her restaurant, and we can now order off the menu and have our food prepared while we wait! At my request, my Dad then made a credit card machine so that Baby E could take our payment after our meal. This credit card machine has yet to be painted, but it is a huge hit for the restaurant (and also for her make-believe store)!

Playing card holder: Over the summer, Baby E became more interested in playing board games. Growing up, our family always played games: cards, board games, car games … and my husband and I want to instill that love of games in our little girl too! One of Baby E’s favorite games is Go Fish, but she has troubles holding all of the cards in her hand as we play. One day, on vacation with my parents, we were playing Go Fish and Baby E was trying unsuccessfully to manage all of her cards … and the next day my amazing Dad had created this card holder! It’s perfect, and we use it all the time!

Little People Ferry: At my parents house, Baby E loves to play with the collection of Little People and the barn. One of her favorite things became moving all of the people and animals back and forth from one side of the table to the other. My Dad saw this … and ta da! A wooden ferry appeared! Baby E loves it!

Guitar/Banjo: Baby E loves musical instruments. We have a little collection of instruments at home (kazoo, drums, tambourine, etc.) but we are missing one important item: a guitar! So Baby E and I decided to make our own. We found these two awesome tutorials on Pinterest: Mini Lid Banjos and Paper Plate Banjo. They were really fun to make, and have both been used quite a bit since! The only thing we found when making these crafts is that the Paper Plate Banjo needs a very heavy duty paper plate (or multiple plates together) to ensure that the elastic bands won’t bend it!

Aquarium in a jar: Our family doesn’t yet have any pets, but I saw this Mason Jar Aquarium project on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun first step! Baby E and I enjoyed this simple project, and for awhile she was carrying “Goldie” around the house with her for breakfast, to play, and so on. Goldie is a bit shy – hiding behind the plants in this pic!

And our current project …

Wooden dollhouse: It wouldn’t be Christmas without a DIY gift for Baby E to keep me up late at night, frantically trying to meet the December 25th deadline! This Christmas I really wanted to make a homemade dollhouse for Baby E. I met with my architect (guess who!?) and he drew up some initial plans, and started to build. I just saw the (in progress) dollhouse for the first time yesterday and it is incredible. I am sooo excited about this gift! Thanks to Pinterest, I already have some great interior designs ideas in mind. I will definitely be blogging about this project as we get a bit further along, so stay tuned if you are interested in more details!

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