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K-5th Grade
5th-7th Grade
Dear Marianne:

What is the best way to store toys outdoors?
Ken, Newport Beach, CA, Father of Josh (6), Eric (4) and Trinity (2)


Homemade Toy Recipes – make your own toys!
by Marianne Szymanski

  There are so many toys you can make at home. Whether it is a rainy day, birthday party, babysitter night, after school activity or family get-together, finding the time to play is usually not a problem.
  These ideas are simple, inexpensive to make and you can use your own ingredients. The recipes came to us from teachers, parents, grandparents and of course, Toy Tips tested them with kids to make sure they are fun!

Zip Loc Bag Books

Staple together 5-7 Zip Loc Bags on the closed seam. Cover staples with electrical tape to avoid sharp points. Then pages can be filled with family photos, pictures cut from magazines, small items collected. Books can be changed and can be graded for any aged child-adding words, sentences, etc. Can have themes, the ABC's, the family trip, Holidays, favorite foods, etc.

Homemade Musical Instruments

Glue and staple together Chinet (or other heavy paper plate) filled with dried peas or beans. Decorate outside of plates anyway you want.

20 Oz soda bottles. Fill with beans, pasta, rice etc. Attach dowel handle to soda cap either by screwing it on or hot glue. Makes a great maraca.

Drums from Oatmeal or other cyndrical cereal containers. Cover outsides with paper to decorate. Can use large spoon to beat drums or hands work fine too.

Spongy Soft Balls: Cut one colored Big sponge cut in strips.(Do not cut through) Leave the middle uncut. Tie the center with a strong rubber band and toss in the air or in the water.

Sidewalk paint: Mix together and place paint in a spray bottle 1 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 1/4 cup h20 10 drops of food color

Sidewalk chalk: Mix together and form into balls or into shapes with molds or plastic cookie cutters. (must work quickly) 2/3 cup plaster-of-Paris 2 tbs powdered tempura paint 6 tbs h20

Yukky Mukky Gukky

  1. Mixture #1: 2 cups Elmer glue 2 cups of h20 21 drops of Food coloring Mix in bowl #1.
  2. Mixture #2: 8 tsp. Laundry detergent (powder) 2 2/3 cups water Mix in bowl #2
  3. Slowly pour mixture in bowl #1 into mixture of bowl #2 (DO not mix or stir) Lift solution 1 out of 2.
  4. Watch solid turn to liquid and liquid turn to solid right in your hands.. Offers sensory and tactile development and texture identification. Store in a zip loc bag or tupperware


4 tbs. Elmer's glue 5 drops of food color Slowly... add 2 tbs. Liquid starch Let stand and mix in hands. Store in a zip loc bag.

Lip Gloss

4 tbsp. Shortening 2 tbs. Dry kool aid mix Mix together and decorate in small containers (Danimals yogurt containers work great)


1 cup flour 1 cup USED coffee grounds 1/2 cup salt 1/4 cup sand 3/4 cup water

Mix and slowly add water. Knead until it has the consistency of bread dough. Break off a piece and roll into the size of a baseball. Make a hole and hide wrapped candy. Seal with extra dough. Let air dry for 3 days or until hard. You can also bake in an oven for 20 minutes to dry. Open.

Smelly Modeling Dough

1cup flour 1/2 cup salt 1 pkg unsweetened Koolaid 3 Tbl. vegetable oil 1/2 cup hot water

Combine dry ingredients. Add oil and hot water. Mix with hands. Add extra flour or water to reach consistency of bread dough. Have fund and enjoy the smell. Dough is non toxic, but very salty if eaten. Will keep in plastic bag for several weeks.

Melted Crayons Recycle old crayons. Peel off the paper and have children mix colors in an non-stick muffin pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 4-5 minutes until melted. Cool.

How To...

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