Homemade Toys – Playgroup

Plastic bottles are a great play item for playgroup. They can be used in craft, water play, the Homemade Toys PG WPhome corner or used in pretend play – like a rocket ship!

Did you know?

Creating and sharing toys helps children develop empathy and care for others. These are important skills for making friends at school and for life. Older children can make toys for younger children at playgroup. This could be making plastic bottle shakers, or a playful snake made from lids. Babies will love to watch older children. They are learning all the time! Some great ideas can be found through an internet search.

Add language

Encourage conversation. Make comments on what the children are doing, seeing and feeling. Comment on sizes, colours or positions of items being used. Pause and wait for children to make comments or ask questions. Encourage children to share their ideas and suggestions.

Other development

Creating items using recycled bottles helps children develop their fine motor skills.
Different shaped spoons and funnels make filling the bottles fun and develops eye hand coordination. Adding food colouring inspires colour mixing and conversation! This all involves maths and science concepts too.


Use homemade shakers as musical instruments during your playgroup’s usual music time. Fill bottles with different things to make different sounds e.g. rice, dried beans, chick peas or coloured beads of different sizes.


When making or using using shakers, always secure the lid of the bottle tightly with tape (we use electrical tape) to ensure the lid does not come off during play. Always surpervise children around water and empty any water containers when finished.

Across the ages

All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. See how backyard exploring can be fun for babies, toddlers and children.

Activities listed under “playgroup” are suitable for groups of children of various ages.
They provide opportunities for early learning and social play.