During the national lockdown and beyond, parents and children can create toys from ordinary household recycled items. The recycled material contributes to a cleaner environment, because less material is thrown away. Below are some of the homemade toys you and children can make while keeping the earth clean:


What you need:

  •  Tin foil inner, toilet roll inner or stick from a tree
  • Yoghurt container, margarine container or any plastic container with a round lid
  • Scissors and marker

What to do:

  1. Place your cardboard inner or stick on the bottom of your plastic container and draw around the base of it.
  2. Cut out inside the line you have drawn. It is easiest to start in the centre and cut outwards in a spiral.
  3. Cut the inside part of the lid out. Leave a rim of about 1cm before the edge of the lid to ensure it is heavy enough to throw.

How to play:

Let your child start by standing quite close to the base and trying to throw the ring so that it lands around the cardboard tube or tick. As your child gets better, you can get them to throw from further back. Make lots of different rings. It does not matter if they are the same size or colour. Ask your child to throw the red ring (colour) or the big ring (size). Let your child count how many rings they get on.


 What you need:

  • Egg box or toilet rolls
  • Beans, stones, straws, twigs, or headless matchsticks
  • Scissors and marker

What to do:

  • Depending on the number range that your child is working in, tear your egg box or tray to the appropriate size.
  • Write the numbers in each cup, starting at the top left just like a child would read.
  • Cut your toilet roll inners in half.
  • On one side write the number, on the other side draw the correct number of dots to match the number.
  • Cut your drinking straws into 4 or use twigs.
  • Let your child count the right number of beans, matchsticks, straws, or twigs as they put them into each cup or roll.
  • The reason why we put the dots on the back of the toilet roll inners is to help the child remember what the number symbol says. Let them count the dots if they forget the number name.
  • As your child becomes more confident with these numbers, put in the next two numbers. Let them be confident with those, then add the next two.
  • You can also use the toilet roll inners to practice counting backwards. This is the start of understanding subtraction.


 What you need:

  • 5 bread bags (or 1 plastic bag and damp magazine pages, or newspapers, or chip packets) to make a small ball (20 bread bags to make a bigger ball)
  • Netlon bag from onions, tomatoes or oranges (optional)
  • Scissors

What to do:

  1. Scrunch each bread bag one at a time (or scrunch your damp paper into a ball) and put it inside a bread bag.
  2. Squeeze as much of the air as you can out of the bag, pushing the inside bags (or paper) as far down as you can to make a small, firm, round ball.

3.Only then close the opening of the bag. The less air you have, the less likely the ball is to pop.

  1. Tie a knot in the bag, making sure that you pull it right down onto the ball to stop the air from getting in.
  2. Cut off the tail, right next to the knot.
  3. The netlon bag is optional, but it does make your ball stronger and less likely to pop. Turn your netlon bag inside out,so that the knot is on the inside.
  4. Put the ball in so that the knot of the ball is on the side.
  5. Cut your netlon into 2 equal pieces, right up to the edge of the ball (do not pop your ball!).
  6. Tie the two pieces together with 3 knots to make it very secure.
  7. Cut the ends off and your ball is ready to play with!


  • Play ten-pin bowling. Use whatever you have at home: empty bottles, toilet roll inners or plastic cups. The younger your child, the wider the line of pins needs to be. Let your child count how many pins they knocked down and how many are still standing.
  • Put numbers on your pins. Let younger children name the numbers on the pins they have knocked down, and older children can do addition and multiplication sums with the numbers.
  • Let your child push the ball with their nose from one side of the room to the other. Have races.
  • Let your child squeeze the ball between his or her knees and jump or run from one spot to another.
  • Use tin foil inners to make cricket wickets and a bat.
  • Use a round margarine or ice cream container as a basketball or netball hoop. Cut a hole in the centre for the ball to fall through.
  • Let your child balance their ball on various body parts and move from one spot to another playtime.


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