DIY Games for little ones

Posted by Stephanie Mandrea on

My son loves to discover new things and gets bored easily of his toys. Lately I was watching him play in the house (or should I say I was watching him emptying my cupboards!) and then I asked myself: How could I help him improve his motor skills? I thought about buying used toys, but before doing that, I wanted to try something else.

PS: I put toys in a bag (like this one) that I put away for a period of time. When I take them out again, he feels like he has brand new toys to play with! I find it's a good way to buy less toys.

sac à jouets

A quick search on Pinterest showed me a whole new world of possibilities! I tried a few easy DIY games and to my biggest surprise, he was so concentrated that he played with them for more than an hour. As the Montessori method of teaching (that we love !) advocates, we let our children explore by themselves. So with these games, we put the material at their disposition and observe how they make use of it, without intervening too much. 

Here are my favourite, tested and approved games by August (he is 13 months old)

Game 1:  Ladle and balls

 Here is a game that only requires a few items from your kitchen and that is easy to set up.

What you need:

  • A ladle or big spoon
  • A bowl
  • A muffin pan
  • Balls* or other objects

*You can find small used balls on Marketplace or use small foam balls from a craft store. Or you could use pasta noodles! Be creative :)

What to do:

The child works on his motor skills by taking a ball with the ladle and transferring it in the muffin pan. If you want to make it more difficult for an older child, you could add a colour system (for example, the blue ball in the blue section of the muffin pan)

Game 2 :The stick in the hole

Have you noticed how kids love putting objects in a container ? This game is a sure success! You can use different objects you have around the house, which makes this game very eco-friendly.

What you need:

  • A Container (a yogurt container, a formula can, a milk jug, a box etc,) in which you make small holes
  • A small glass or a mason jar
  • Small sticks or straws (you can finally use those old single use plastic straws you have lying at the bottom of a drawer!)

What to do:

Put the sticks or straws in the holes of the container.


You could, instead of holes, cut slits in the containers and have them slip lids of different containers or Mason Jars in the openings. My son loves lids, so he really enjoyed this way of playing the game!

Game 3: Treasures hidden in the egg carton

An easy game to learn object permanence and how to classify.

What you need:

  • An empty egg carton
  • A bag (we love using our toy bag to hide surprises) or a container
  • Small objects of your choice (rocks, crystals, plastic lids, wood blocks, pasta noodles, keys etc…)

What to do:

It’s pretty easy, the child will take objects in the bag and will place them in the compartments of the egg container, and will have fun closing it and opening it!

Alternative: For an older child, you can use colors to classify the objects according to the painted color in each compartment.

Games 4: Lids and box

A simple little game to learn how to insert shapes.

What you need:

• A reused cardboard box or a shoe box

• Lids (I like Masson jar lids, since we have a lot of them at home!)

What to do:

Make notches in the box of different sizes. Let the child insert the covers. You can vary the shapes and sizes!

Leave a open space below the box to allow your child to empty the box and start over and over.

Check out our Pinboard on Pinterest with more ideas!

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Famille / MAMA

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