Homemade Toys: 4 Purchases You Should Avoid Buying for Your Children

Why do you purchase things? Some reasonable answers to this question would be that you lack the knowledge, expertise or time to build or make a product. But, then there things that we purchase because we are ignorant to the fact we possess skill, knowledge and time. Unfortunately, Play-Doh is one of those purchases.

Developed in the 1950’s to clean wallpaper, Play-Doh exploded as a child toy sensation when marketers realized it could be used as modeling clay. Since then, Hasboro has sold nearly 2 billion cans of Play-Doh. But, the classy, artsy clay of my youth comes at a steep price for any family trying to maintain a reasonable budget. Four and a half pounds of Play-Doh sells for $13.54 at Walmart. It also can be made in about ten minutes, using four common household ingredients and for less than $1.

Recipe:

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)

Below are three other common purchases that parents could save money making instead of purchasing:

Bubbles

Admittedly, finding bubbles at the Dollar Tree is no challenge. But, once you’ve spent your dollar and have a bubble wand, making your own bubble solution requires about a minute of your time and a small sacrifice of your favorite dish soap.

Recipe:

1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar

Finger Paints

So long as finger-paint is easily cleaned, parents enjoy watching their young artist’s exploration of color. Your child won’t get the color brilliance of an oil painting, but home-made finger paints  beats paying $25.

Recipe

2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 cups cold water

1/4 cup clear liquid dish soap

food coloring or food coloring paste

Learning Aides

What wouldn’t we spend to teach our children to read?

Sight words are words like “the,” “and,” and “or.” They are words that are hard to read or understand (see lists here). Using flash cards can make the job easier, but don’t give into the temptation to buy these forms of education tools.

Instead, help your child to create their own flash cards. The cognitive demands and effort to make the craft will go a long way in helping them understand the sight words. It will also save you money. Educational aides are over-priced and frequently unnecessary so long as you encourage your child to put crayon to paper.

What other family purchases can be made instead of bought?

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