Child Crafts: Fun Homemade Bath And Pool Toys

Tips for home made fun playthings meant for water. Projects that kids can enjoy making.

Bath toys and pool toys don't have to be expensive. They don't have to cost a thing if you make them from things you already have around the house. Get creative and get your kids to help you think of new ways to use stuff that you would otherwise throw away.

RECYCLE

For a large pool, make a "buoy" line to let kids know where the deep end begins or to use as a "finish line" for swimming races. Simply rinse out several two-liter soda bottles, remove the labels, and string them together by tying clothesline around the necks of the bottles. Make sure you close the bottles tightly so they will not fill up with water when placed in the pool.

You can also use soda bottles to toss back and forth, to throw through a hula-hoop for points, or you can make them into sailboats. Lay the bottle down, slide a few pebbles inside, and close it securely. Add enough pebbles to add weight so the bottle will not roll (but not so many that it will be too heavy to float). The side the pebbles are lying on will become the bottom. Carefully poke a small hole in the center of the top side with scissors; an adult should complete this part or at least provide close supervision. Insert a long straw into the hole. Make sure the straw touches the bottom. This will become the mast.



Next, fashion a sail out of paper, light cardboard or fabric. A simple triangle will do. Fold the triangle in half and cut one small slit near the top and one near the bottom. Slide the sail over the mast, inserting the straw into the slits. Sailboats are great for the pool or the bath.

You can use old nylons to make water balls. First, make sure the nylons are clean. Then cut off each foot section. Cut the remainder of the pair of nylons in half and stuff each foot section with one piece. Stretch the foot section until you can tie a secure knot in the end of it. These balls will soak up water and are great for games or for gently tossing at friends to splash them. You should use water balls in the pool only, unless you don't mind having a really wet bathroom.

Save plastic lids from large margarine containers, whipped topping containers, or coffee cans and make them into diving rings. All you have to do is place another lid that is about one or two inches smaller on top of it, trace it, and cut it out. It is much easier if you poke a hole in the center then slip the point of the scissors into the hole and cut over to the line you traced. Cut out the entire center, and you're ready to go. If you do not have anything you think is worth recycling, you can by inexpensive, new materials to make into bath and pool toys.

NEW TOYS

Craft foam is great. You can find small sheets of it at any craft store and even in many department stores. It comes in assorted colors and it only costs a few cents per sheet. Cut out letters to spell your child's name, or draw neat shapes and cut them out. Your kids can use foam toys in the bath or pool. They can toss them into the pool and dive for them, or they can get them wet and stick them to the wall of the tub.

You can also get creative and make up games to play with the foam pieces. Place a hula-hoop in the center of the pool. Take a large bunch of foam shapes and letters and toss them into the air over the pool. Any foam pieces that fall inside the hula-hoop are off limits. Those that do not fall within the circumference of the hoop, the children will race to gather up. The child that collects the most wins.

Clean sponges also make great toys. You can cut out interesting shapes for play in the tub or the pool. Kids can also use sponges like water balls. Your child can soak up some water with one and toss it at his friend. Sponges are soft enough that they won't cause injury, as long as children don't throw them at each other's faces.

Balloons make a great inexpensive substitute for beach balls. You'll be amazed how long competing to keep a balloon in the air will keep children busy. You can also make your own "basketballoon" hoop from a plastic bucket. Use small water balloons for the ball. If a balloon pops, make sure you quickly remove the broken pieces from the pool (children should always be supervised when playing with balloons, as small children can easily choke on the pieces).

Cut out circle shaped pieces of paper and have your kids draw pictures on them, or have your children trace a circle around a favorite magazine picture and cut it out. Next cut circles from clear contact paper (these circles should be one inch larger than the pictures). Remove the backing and place the picture face down on the sticky side of the contact paper. Stick another piece of contact paper to the back of the picture, being careful to line it up. If necessary, trim the edges to make it smooth. These circles make great bath toys. When you get them wet, they stick to the tile or the wall. Making homemade bath and pool toys is a simple project that will provide hours of fun for you and your children.

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