Homemade Toys and Games

Make your own fun with these handmade toys for kids.

Everything in this slideshow

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Photograph by Doug Merriam

Stand-up Dinosaur Toys

Show four-legged dinosaurs who's boss with this cleverly designed bipedal model. Download our template below, trace the shapes on cereal box cardboard, and cut them out. Paint both sides of the pieces and let them dry, then slot them together.

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Photograph by Kinzie & Riehm, Idea by Natalie Dixon

Tic-Tac-Toss Game

Take the game of Xs and Os outside -- and into the air -- with this supersize version.

On a flat surface, adhere strips of duct tape to a shower curtain liner, as shown. Use more tape to make Xs on four flying disks or heavyweight plastic plates. You'll need four more disks or plates for Os.

To play, set up a throw line, then follow the rules of tic-tac-toe. If your disk lands off the board, in an already-claimed square, or centered on a line, throw it again. For a more challenging game (or for a parent who's playing with a kid), nix the second chance for errant tosses. Use rocks to hold down the board on a windy day.

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Photograph by Doug Merriam

Spinning Disk Toy

Thread two buttons onto a 2-foot length of string, then tie it into a loop. Holding each end of the loop, whirl the buttons around to wind them on the string. Pull your hands apart to spin the buttons, then let the string go slack so that they spin and rewind. Repeat the motion to get the buttons spinning faster.

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Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

Make-Your-Own Checkers Game

Duct tape turns a ziplock bag into a game board that holds handmade playing pieces.

Cover a gallon-size ziplock freezer bag with overlapping strips of a single color of duct tape. Fold a strip of tape lengthwise over each edge (just don't tape over the opening!). Adhere strips of a second color of tape to parchment paper. Measure and cut out 32 11-inch squares. Starting below the zipper, place the squares on the bag in an 8-by-8 grid. For checkers, cover 1-inch wood disks with two colors of duct tape, 12 of each color. (Or cut out corrugated cardboard circles, using a quarter as a template, and cover with duct tape.) Trim the tape with scissors.

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Kinzie & Riehm

Two-Way Target

Our no-sew felt target offers two ways to play, with a colorful bull's-eye on one side and a baseball pitcher's practice strike zone on the other.

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Photograph by Mark Mantegna

Rubber Band Launcher

Glue a clothespin to a dowel. Load a rubber band onto the launcher as shown. Squeeze the clothespin handle to let the band fly (at inanimate targets only, of course).

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Ed Judice

Axle Racer Toy

This toy zips across the floor under rubber band power -- and its wheels are made from pint container lids, giving you a great excuse to buy ice cream!

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