DIY Toys for 8-12 Month Olds

We celebrated Samuel’s first birthday last weekend and I still can’t quite believe how quickly this year has flown! I thought it was the perfect time to share some of our DIY toys we’ve been using with Samuel for the past few months.

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Object Permanence Box

I couldn’t quite justify spending too much money on an object permanence box for Samuel, especially since they can have a very short life depending on the baby’s interest, so I made him one instead. It was a favourite of Samuel’s for a good few weeks while he learnt how to place the ball in the hole. Once he had that down pat, he spent plenty of time exploring what other objects would and wouldn’t fit through the hole. Even Nick used it with some blocks today to introduce Paige to introduce her to simple addition. It certainly doesn’t get used as much these days, but it still seems to be a hit when I pull it out again. For the full tutorial on how I made ours, click here.

Stacking Rings

For a long time I searched for wooden rings to use with a stacker but again, couldn’t quite justify the price and after I found our Fisher Price stacker in the back of the cupboard, realised those plastic rings would work just as well. I put them with the wooden base to our Grimm’s Wankel stacker to create our own stacker for Samuel. I wanted to change the base from the Fisher Price base as it required the rings to be stacked on in a specific order, whereas by using the Grimms’ base, Samuel can stack the rings in any order. The plastic rings also have quite a wide centre so placing them on the thin wooden stick provides less of a challenge than if I offered the Grimms wooden rings.

This whole activity is still too challenging for Samuel, at the moment he is happy enough to take the rings off, but would rather suck on them than try and put them back on. I’ll still keep it out for him because as we all know with little ones – something might be too challenging for them one day, then they master it the next!

Ball Drop

From about nine months old, Samuel’s favourite thing EVER is posting. He spends about 90% of his time playing putting objects inside other objects. It is amazing to see the learning that occurs in something that seems so simple – exploring shape and size, developing hand control and gross and fine motor skills, discovering how to get the objects back out and learning all about cause and effect.

This was the next posting activity I made for Samuel after he learnt how to use the object permanence box. I cut the base off a Pringles can and then stuck it to the wall. We’ve used a few different types of balls with this – we started off using the wooden balls from our Hape Pound and Tap xylophone (these Grimm’s wooden balls would work great too!) and then later bought these sensory balls from Kmart which fit through the Pringles can perfectly! I covered the tube in some tape purely for looks, then I stuck it to the end of the kitchen bench. Samuel (and Paige!!) both really enjoyed dropping the balls through and then chasing them as they rolled away.


As Samuel began refining his hand control, I started looking for posting activities that were more challenging for him. We had some wooden rods from this hammering game, which when I introduced to Samuel with an empty tissue box, happily spent about fifteen minutes putting them in and then taking them back out of the box again. Then we were given these plastic bottles a few weeks later and they were THE PERFECT size for our wooden rods. Samuel was able to jam about six of them inside, then after being shown a few times, worked out how to tip them all out and start again.

This is by far Samuel’s favourite toy at the moment, he loves experimenting with different objects to find out what will fit inside and what is too big. A few weeks ago he realised that if he put them in just right, even Matchbox cars fit inside! It’s amazing what little ones discover when left to explore!


I would love to know what DIY toys you have made your little ones – I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!

Lycie xx

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