Your kids can make their own toilet paper tube toys. Embrace this free craft supply!
You’ve got free toy-building supplies for kids right there in your bathroom!
Kids love to make their own toys, and you’ll not find any crafting supply that’s cheaper, more plentiful, or more versatile than the lowly toilet paper tube. So start your collection, add in a few more basic materials, and invite your kid to create something on this long master list. It’ll be like her own little Santa’s Workshop!
And don’t be afraid to think outside the toilet paper tube box. You can substitute paper towel tubes for toilet paper tubes in most of these projects, and oatmeal canisters in some of the projects. If you’ve got a lot of cardboard food packaging boxes, think about how you can substitute or add in those. Same for shipping boxes! If you don’t stock construction paper, consider using newspaper or magazine pages or simply paint to decorate these projects. Chopsticks or pencils can sometimes substitute for popsicle sticks. Anyway, you get the idea!
40 DIY Toilet Paper Tube Toys
1. baby play station. You’ve got to make this FOR babies, obviously, but they love to spin and roll these tubes. Cover the tubes in different materials–fabric, aluminum foil, tape, etc.–to give the baby different tactile experiences as she plays. But don’t forget that everything needs to be baby-safe AND carefully supervised!
2. bat. These bats can look silly or spooky–however your kiddo wants to make them.
3. binoculars. Your kid will be happy to add these toy binoculars to her pretend play. Adventure awaits!
4. bowling pins. Try to knock them down with a bouncy ball for extra challenge, or a tennis ball for an easier game.
5. building toy. Who knew that there were so many building toys that you could make from toilet paper tubes? This one is the simplest to create.
6. camera. Kid always grabbing for your camera? Give her one of her own!
7. car wash. A toy car wash is just what the Hot Wheels need.
8. castle. You’ll also want to have oatmeal canisters and other cardboard food packaging boxes to offer your kid, so that she can make her castle as epic as possible.
9. chalk. Use toilet paper tubes as the mold for this chalk recipe, and the result is big, stubby pieces perfect for little kids.
10. dolls. Kids can easily change the faces of these dolls mid-play to show different expressions.
11. fairy houses. Use natural materials, like acorn caps, pine needles, or walnut shelves, for the roof of each house.
12. family. Family photos glued to toilet paper tubes turn family members into dolls that kids can do what they will with. Yikes!
13. fireworks. Since your kid can’t play with the real thing, let her make some toy ones that she CAN play with.
14. fishing toy. It really works!
15. fish kite. Celebrate Chinese New Year with a fun kite.
16. hair cutting doll. This will save your kids from cutting the hair of their OTHER dolls.
17. kaleidoscope. It really works!
18. kazoo. The toilet paper tube kazoo is kind of a right of passage. Your kid needs to make one, ASAP!
19. lacing beads. Fat toilet paper tubes are the perfect beads for toddlers.
20. Lincoln logs. You might have to do the cutting on these, since precision is important, but having your own daily-expanding set of homemade Lincoln logs is worth it!
21. marble run. Let your kid attempt this project when you’ve got some other supplies to add to it–she’ll need extra cardboard, popsicle sticks or twigs, and plenty of hot glue.
22. mermaid. Your kid can make her own mermaid doll.
23. pinata. A kid doesn’t have to wait for a birthday part to have a pinata!
24. race car. Challenge your kiddo to construct this in such a way that the car can really roll.
25. rocket. The instructions are in Russian (What?!? You can’t read RUSSIAN?!?), but all you really need to do is show your kid a photo for inspiration, and let her take off from there.
26. slingshot. Building this plunger-style slingshot is a great way for kids to amp up their STEM skills. Introduce them to a few more styles of slingshots and catapults, and they’ve got themselves a fine Science Fair project.
27. snake. The hinges on this snake mean that it can actually slither!
28. snowy owl. Hedwig, is that you?
29. sorter. Set this up for a preschooler or toddler, and they’ll have fun sorting and dropping pom poms.
30. spinning toy. Your kids will learn about kinetic energy as they build and play with this toy.
31. stamp. Toilet paper tubes make good stampers for small ones. This tute teaches you how to make a toilet paper tube heart stamper.
32. storytelling scene. You can make pop-up characters and scenery, and your kid can make a play.
33. telescope. Your kid can cut out photos of things to view and add them to the end of this toy telescope.
34. Tinkertoys. Set this up for the kids, and then invite them to build, Tinkertoy-style.
35. toy airplane. These airplanes won’t really fly, but they make cute toys.
36. toy car garage. This is a GREAT way to store and display a kid’s Hot Wheels.
37. train. You’ll also need plenty of plastic bottle caps for train wheels.
38. turkey. Kid doesn’t have a toy turkey to play with? Well, let her make one!
39. TV. Kids can watch comic strip TV with this project.
40. zipline toy. Kids can make a daredevil that can really fly down their yarn zipline.
Got any more tutorials or ideas for toys that kids can make from toilet paper tubes? Add them in the Comments below!