The nine top DIY activities: your kids will love you!

make kids toys and activities with things you have in your home already to keep the kids entertained over the summer
DIY toys are easy to make – and you probably already have everything you need at home.

We’ve rooted out the best DIY kids activities for you! Now you can put a smile on your kids’ faces, while spending quality time with them too.

1. DIY playhouse made from old cardboard

image of a DIY cardboard playhouse that the kids can make and decorate this summer.
Let your kids go wild when they decorate this cardboard playhouse.

Have you received another enormous package in the post? That’s great, because you can use the cardboard packaging to make lots of brilliant DIY toys – like this beautiful playhouse! To make the house, you’ll need: cardboard, some glue or paste to stick the sides together, scissors to cut out windows and doors and, last but not least, lots of brightly coloured paints and a brush. How can your kids help? Let them decide where to put the windows and decorate the house all by themselves once it’s built. Older children can even help you to cut the cardboard. It’s the perfect project for a sunny afternoon!

2. Dominoes made from pebbles

an image of dominoes made with painted stones and pebbles
One of the best thing about these dominoes is that you can expand the game by collecting pebbles on every holiday or day trip.

If the weather isn’t great and you have lots of pebbles leftover from your last holiday, why not make your own DIY domino game? It doesn’t matter what the pebbles look like as long as they’re roughly the same size. Use a permanent black marker to draw dots on each domino from one to six, just like the face of a die – and your dominoes will be ready to play with!

Two tips for making this DIY toy:

  • To make this game more difficult, you could also apply the dots in different colours. But remember that the dominos will still have to be placed end to end.
  • On future holidays and day trips, look for similar stones and pebbles to expand your DIY domino collection.

3. The sandpit table

an image of a small sandpit table, perfect for small gardens, balconies and terraces
A small sandbox is perfect for balconies and terraces – especially if you don’t have a lot of space.

This DIY toy is a little more complicated to build, but your kids are sure to love it! To build our sandbox table, you’ll need wood (e.g. shuttering boards or square timber), matching screws, support beams and a board the size you want your table to be. Of course, your table doesn’t have to be square like the one in the picture! Your kids can lend a helping hand when screwing the wooden pieces together. One can bring you the next board while the other can hold the screws. Kids love to be involved in these kinds of projects and they can learn how to use a screwdriver or cordless screwdriver at the same time. Watch out – soon they’ll be building their own toys!

Two tips for making this DIY toy:

  • The sandbox table is ideal if you don’t have enough space for a proper sandbox in the garden and will even fit comfortably on a balcony.
  • Does your child prefer to play with water? Simply line the table with a blue bin liner, fix the bin liner securely to the table, and you’ll have a little pond on your balcony or terrace.

4. DIY swing made from an old tyre

image of a tyre swing in a garden
The tyre swing is one of the absolute classics on our list.

You must have an old tyre or two lying around, right? Even a small spare tyre will do. To make sure the swing doesn’t leave marks on your children’s clothes, make sure you scrub the tyre clean or remove all traces of dirt using a high-pressure washer. If you use ring bolts to hang your tyre, make sure they’re screwed in from the inside with a washer and nut so that your kids don’t end up landing on the ground with a bump!

Two tips for making this DIY toy:

  • Small tyres (e.g. spare tyres) can also be turned into an indoor swing.
  • Drill a couple of large holes into the underside of the outdoor tyre swing so that water can drain from it in heavy rain. If you want to create an entire garden instead of just a swing, you’re sure to find our checklist for beginner gardeners a big help.

5. A tepee hide-out or play area

image showing two children playing with a teepee in the garden
Whether you sew or tack your tepee, your kids are sure to love it.

“Come on teddies, cushions and covers, time to get in our new tent!”, your kids will cry when you’re done building this tepee. All you need is three long branches, roof battens or bamboo sticks, a large piece of material, a tear-proof strap and a little creativity. Once you’ve tied the upper end of the sticks together with the strap, you’ll be able to see how best to lay the material over the branches. Your kids are guaranteed to want to help you – they’ll be very excited about their new hide-out!

If you want to play it safe and make your tepee last longer, you can attach the material to the branches using a tacker.

6. DIY stamps

image showing a child doing potato stamping and printing with paints
Kids love stamps and there are endless different shapes you can make together.

Making stamps is upcycling at its best! You can use wine corks, drinks lids, stones or even potatoes as stamps. If you choose potatoes, your children can immediately get stuck in helping you to cut patterns of their choice into the stamps. However, if you choose old corks, stones or lids, you’ll need to buy some foam rubber from your local crafts shop before you can begin. Then you can start cutting out all kinds of shapes.


7. DIY stilts

image of a child playing on a pair of homemade stilts
Kids love stilts! And they’re super easy to make.

You don’t need much to make this DIY toy – with a hammer and a nail, punch two holes (left and right) into two large food cans and thread a large piece of string or rope through them. Then, simply tie the string or rope in a tight knot and your stilts will be ready to use!

Quick tip:

  • If you find cans too loud, you can also use thick wooden blocks, but these will be a bit heavier. Instead of making holes in the blocks, simply fix screw eyes or ring bolts to the wooden blocks and secure the rope with strong knots.
  • This version of the stilts can also work with tin cans. Just make sure that you secure the screw eyes with matching nuts on the inside of the cans.

8. Toilet roll people

image of craft projects for kids made of empty toilet rolls
Empty toilet rolls are great for making all kinds of DIY toys.

You’d better start collecting! Empty toilet and kitchen rolls can be used to make all kinds of DIY toys. The easiest projects involve simply painting the rolls and sticking on the features of an animal or person. Your kids will then have new puppets to play theatre with. What’s more, the puppets will help to nurture their creativity and encourage independent play.

9. DIY play dough

image of a child playing with homemade play dough
Play dough is amazing! And it’s also cheap, quick and easy to make.

Probably the biggest DIY toy trend right now is making your own play dough. In fact, it’s very easy – and once your little ones are finished with their first batch of DIY play dough, they’ll soon be able to start helping you with cooking and baking.

To make your own play dough, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1.5 cups of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 4 cups of flour
  • Your choice of food colouring

Just mix the ingredients together and your DIY play dough will be ready to use. If you want to make play dough in different colours, simply split the water into several bowls. Then add food colouring to each of the bowls and finally mix in the flour, salt and oil.