There is no better thing than recycle old materials to make something new and useful. Such as these 3 DIY fine motor skill toys. They are easy to make, neat and bright and are great for developing fine and gross motor skills, concentration and curiosity. So many benefits from almost free simple homemade toys.
I’ve been collecting old food canisters for a while now. I was waiting my baby to be old enough so I could make some toys for motor skills development. For this project I used old canisters from cocoa and bread crumbs as they are big enough and sturdy, plus they have soft plastic lids and is very easy to work with them.
Simple tactile ribbon tugging toy is a great toy for learning cause and effect by pulling ribbons on one side, watching them disappearing on the other side. It is also beneficial for muscle strength and grasping with little fingers.
I collected my ribbons making sure that I have different textures, colours and materials which will benefit sensory exploration. Then I’ve marked where wholes will go and made a cut with scalpel.
After painting and drying I threaded ribbons throughout the holes. At this moment I had to adjust some of the holes because some ribbons were bigger. So the ribbons were coming in from one side and out on the opposite side.
In the end I knotted ends securely so that they can’t come out.
I didn’t use lid in this tactile toy but for sure you can make holes in the lid as well and thread ribbons somewhere on the side. It will be harder to pull them out which is good exercise to strengthen little muscles.
I made two dropping toys, using small and big canister, also one with small and other with big holes. It is a great activity for learning about object permanence as she put all pieces in to canisters.
For these dropping toys I’ve used Mod Podge glue and wrapping paper which was pretty quick technique to cover all surfaces.
I decided to make one with big hole as A is only one year old thinking it will be easier for her. But do I have to tell that she surprised me how good she was managing small holes?
However, I cut a slot into the plastic lid and took our unfinished wooden peg dolls for that container.
For the other one I’ve used cacao canister which was perfect fit for popsicle sticks.
I cut 4 slots into the lid with slightly different sizes. Small holes and thin popsicle sticks require more precision which will improve fine motor skills.
If you wanna make more tactile toys for your toddler here are some ideas. For dropping objects you may use jar lids, pom-poms, wooden balls and other small objects from the house (be extra careful with small pieces as they can become choking hazard).
For preschoolers you may place numbers on jar lids to tech about numbers and counting.
Another great homemade fine motor skills toy is Button Snake made of ribbon and felt scraps.
Little A accepted new toys immediately exploring each, one by one. First by mouth, of course, but she successfully imitate my movements and drop all pieces through the holes. It is so interesting to watch her concentrating while trying to hit the holes. But most fun part is to take them all out.
Did you ever made similar tactile toys? What object did you use?