Deals Episodes

Easy DIY Kids Toys and Crafts

Keep the kids busy with these toys and crafts that you can easily make on your own. And the best part is you probably already own all the items you need for the DIY projects.

Melanie Maxian, a retired home economics teacher, mother of two boys and grandmother of one, shares some tips to making four fun and easy toys for your children.

Giant Shoes:

What You Need

  • Scissors and utility knife
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Rubber bands
  • Glue
  • Tape (transparent, duct, masking, or colored)
  • Gift wrap or decorative paper
  • Craft paper
  • 2 adult-size shoe boxes
  • Construction paper
  • Shoelaces

Directions

1. Cut a semicircular hole from one end of the top of each lid. (It should be just large enough for a child to slide in her foot.)

2. Decorate each box and its lid with tape or paper. Using a utility knife, punch small holes, then thread the laces.

3. Line the side rim of each lid with glue and return it to its box. Secure with tape as needed.

Mini-Marshmallow Popper:

What You Need

  • Scissors and utility knife
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Rubber bands
  • Glue
  • Tape (transparent, duct, masking, or colored)
  • Gift wrap or decorative paper
  • Craft paper
  • Balloon
  • Paper cup, bottom cut off
  • Mini marshmallows

Directions

1. Knot the end of the balloon, and then snip off 1/2 inch from the top.

2. Stretch the balloon over the cutoff end of the cup so that the knot is in the center. (You'll need to hold the balloon in place when you "pop," or secure it with a rubber band for little hands.)

3. Place a mini marshmallow into the cup so it fits snugly in the knotted center of the balloon. While aiming the cup away from you (and others), pull the knot back, release, and see how far you can send the marshmallow soaring.

Shoe-Box Guitar:

What You Need

  • Scissors and utility knife
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Rubber bands
  • Glue
  • Tape (transparent, duct, masking, or colored)
  • Gift wrap or decorative paper
  • Craft paper
  • Kid-size shoe box
  • Paper-towel tube
  • Cardboard tube from a dry-cleaner hanger, cut into two 4-inch pieces
  • 6 brads
  • Bread-bag tag

Directions

1. Remove the box lid. Cover the box, lid, and paper-towel tube with the paper of your choice. Lay the tube on a table, positioning one end against the short side of the box and centering it along the bottom edge. Trace a circle around the tube. Draw 4 lines bisecting that circle (as if cutting a pie), then, with a utility knife, cut along the lines and through the box. Slide the tube through the bisected hole until it hits the other end of the box and secure it with tape.

2. Cut an oval in the center of the lid, then put it on the box.

3. Stretch 6 rubber bands lengthwise around the box.

4. Slide the 2 dry-cleaner-tube pieces (decorated with tape or paper, if desired) under the rubber bands above and below the oval. Glue to secure. This will allow the "strings" to twang. (Cut chopsticks would work, too.)

5. Screw the brads into the top of the cardboard-tube neck for the tuning pegs.

6. Pick away with the bread-bag tag.

Milk Carton Sailboat:

What You Need

  • Scissors and utility knife
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Rubber bands
  • Glue
  • Tape (transparent, duct, masking, or colored)
  • Gift wrap or decorative paper
  • Craft paper
  • Half-gallon beverage carton
  • Stapler
  • Waterproof gaffer's tape
  • Vellum paper
  • Decorative tape
  • 12-inch bamboo skewer
  • String

Directions

1. Open the top of the carton all the way around. Cut the 2 sides with a flat, nonspout flap, starting in the middle of each flap and going down to the base. Then cut around the perimeter of the base from one cut side to the other, ending up with half a carton attached to a full, square bottom.

2. Set the carton, cut-side up, on a table and fold the spout edge to make a point. Staple it together. Then cover the entire boat with gaffer's tape.

3. Cut 2 triangles (1 small, 1 large) out of the vellum to make sails. Cut a slit in the top and the bottom of each sail. Add stripes with decorative tape.

4. Poke a hole in the bottom of the boat with a utility knife and stick the skewer through and stand it upright; secure with tape. Thread the skewer through the slits in the large sail. Make a small hole at the front point of the boat. Tie one end of the string to the top of the skewer, thread it through the slits in the small sail, then pull it through the front hole. Tie a knot to keep the string taut.

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