Nine toys you can make

Use gaffer's tape and vellum to make a waterproof sailboat.

Story highlights

  • Crafts that will keep your kids entertained even after they are completed
  • Create an cardboard animal barn with a yarn-ball sheep, wine-cork horse and popsicle stick fence
  • Collect jingle bells to make a home-made tambourine
9 toys you can make
Fun projects that will entertain kids long after craft time. (Sorry, Mr. Sock Puppet.)*
Milk-Carton Sailboat
Most crafts couldn't survive the bathtub, but this schooner can tolerate sizable splashes, thanks to waterproof gaffer's tape and vellum. The body is made from an empty milk carton -- even more incentive for your child to drink up.
*All of the projects in this story are courtesy of Heather Swain, author of Make These Toys: 101 Clever Creations Using Everyday Items ($14,
Cardboard Barn
Corral homemade animals (yarn-ball sheep! wine-cork horses!) in this sweet stable, complete with toothpick hay sheaves and a Popsicle-stick fence. If Old MacDonald isn't your child's style, the barn can be turned into a dollhouse or an auto garage.
Big Shoes to Fill
These giant "shoes" can be decorated according to your child's obsession du jour (ballet slippers, robot feet, replicas of Mommy's favorite wedges). They're great for clomping around during a silly dance party or a goofy relay race. And younger kids can use them to practice their bow-tying skills.
Mini-Marshmallow Popper
Once you've cut off the bottoms of these paper cups and slipped on balloons, you've got a springy surface for launching spongy sweets into the air. Host a contest to see who can pop marshmallows the farthest or get the most into a bowl that's a few feet away.
Shoe-Box Guitar
Consider this old-fashioned geetar a much needed break from Rock Band. (You might want to start saving the rubber band that wraps your daily newspaper, by the way.)
Animals and Fence
Yarn-Ball Sheep
No barnyard scene would be complete without at least one wild and wooly roaming sheep. Don't fret, Little Bo Peep, we've created our very own fluffy version with a ball of white yarn.
Wine-Cork Horse
Go ahead and recycle those empty wine bottles, but hold onto the cork stoppers for this neigh-ver been seen before craft. Besides, every farm needs at least one stallion waiting to give the kiddies a ride.
Popsicle Stick Fence
Yet another homemade project that's well-worth the licking. (That's why we love this sweet idea so much!) This mini barrier stands naturally next to the barn and keeps our friendly farm friends from roaming.
Nope, that's not Santa on his sleigh you hear, it's the newest member of your little band. Get ready to shake and remember it's all in the wrist with this instrument. Tip: Start collecting those jingle bells now!
Adapted from Make These Toys, by Heather Swain, by agreement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group USA Inc., copyright © 2010 by Heather Swain.