6 Old-school Toys you Can DIY for Your Kids

A boy playing in a cardboard castle with a cardboard sword and helmet.

All too often you spend good money on things your tikes can play with, but they're more entertained with the packing peanuts than anything else. Rather than spend countless dollars on toys that are soon forgotten, try a different approach. Get the tots involved in creating their own toys. The little ones are sure to appreciate them more, and it's also a great way to bond with your child and make lasting memories. Here are some old school toys that you can DIY with your kids.

1. Sock Puppets

A pair of sock puppets with a dark curtain behind them.

There are endless opportunities for fun with these guys (and this is the perfect way to make use of that pile of lost socks). Get creative with what you do to the socks. Try dying them, sewing buttons on, gluing sequins on, etc. The possibilities are endless as to what you can do to create a face.

The beauty is that they can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be and your kids will have a blast creating different characters.

2. Car Roadway

If your little one has planes, trains, and automobiles, they need a place for them to travel. Use a rug or a large piece of cardboard (one with sides can double as storage). You can make a simplistic two-dimensional city by painting or drawing the roadway, buildings, and other city landmarks. Or you can make it three-dimensional by using other toys to create the city.

3. Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls

Raggedy Ann and Andy sitting on a rocking chair.

This old-school toy that you can DIY with your kids is sure to have you taking a walk down memory lane. There are a plethora of crochet and sewing patterns to choose from for a traditional fabric doll, or you can find templates that use other materials as well. As an alternative, you can transform your sock puppet with big eyes, a triangle nose, and a head full of red yarn.

And, of course, you can make any type of doll your tike’s heart desires. They can even create a doll that looks like them!

4. Dollhouse

There's no need to spend a substantial amount of money on a premade dollhouse or supplies to build one. This old-school toy that you can DIY with your kids is fashioned from cardboard boxes. You can even use multiple boxes stacked together if you don't have a large box sitting around. Your tots will have fun creating the different rooms and decorating it inside and out.

With a little creativity and imagination, you can use everyday items to furnish the interior. For example, that piece of plastic they put in the pizza box can be a table. (If you have a large enough box, you can even make a castle for them to play in!)

5. Blocks

Several kids playing with wood blocks on the floor.

These are perfect for toddlers or a fun project for a big brother. You can get precut blocks from the craft store, and they will have fun painting their masterpieces. Alternatively, you can use fabric and stuffing to make a softer block.

They can also be used as a learning tool. Numbers and letters on the block allows your kids to start learn the fundamentals of counting, the alphabet, and spelling. When they've outgrown this old-school DIY toy, it can be used for décor in their room.

Your little ones will have a blast creating and using their imagination with you. Activities such as these give them an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents and become more confident, all while making unforgettable memories that they will want to recreate with their own children.

6. Swords and Shields

This old-school DIY toy is what your munchkins will need when they have a castle to protect. The simplest and most cost-effective option is to draw an outline of the shape and cut it out of cardboard. You can then color them with markers or spray paint. Or, cover them in tin foil, bedazzle them…the possibilities are endless!

Using a sturdy cardboard will make the toy more durable, but you can also use something like empty paper towel tubes as swords.