Non traditional toys for kids. Create hours of fun with little to no money!

My nephews 6th birthday is coming up, and I needed to buy him a gift. I walked down the toy aisles and was amazed at the new toys that are available. Every kind of flashing light or sound affect that you can imagine, all stuffed into one toy. That is over-stimulation, even for me!

What did I end up getting him you ask? Keep reading and I’ll let you know 🙂

Everywhere you look there are new toys coming out for kids. Flashy toys, loud toys, unique toys. Do kids really need all of those flashing lights and loud music? Sometimes the non-traditional toys are best for kids creativity!

If you are low on money, in a place that doesn’t have traditional toys, or just looking for fun alternatives for your kids, this list of non-traditional toys is for you!

Disclaimer: Always supervise your kids during play. Some of the items on this list may not be suitable for your child or their age. Please make your own informed decisions!

This post contains a referral link. If you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.


We received Little C’s honest diaper subscription box in the mail, and he was thrilled! Not because of the awesome diapers and patterns inside, but because he now had a big empty box to play with! An added benefit was that the inside of this particular box was blue. Score! Boxes are great for kids of all ages. They can craw in them, make forts with them, draw on them, or push them around.

Wrapping Paper/Paper Towel Rolls

I remember playing with empty paper towel rolls when I was a kid. We used them as megaphones! They are also great for drum sticks, decorating, making bird feeders, the ideas are endless! This is a great item for them to use their creativity on!


This is one that Little C loves! Just yesterday I took him outside when he was fussy and gave him a few cups and bowls with some water in them. He had a great time! He gave some to the dog, poured some on his feet, added grass to some. It was also a great learning experience for him!

Pots & Pans

This is a pretty common one. Most kids love to bang on pots and pans while their parents cook. You can create a drawer or cupboard just for them, containing plastic bowls, plastic cooking utensils, and pots and pans. This way they can be entertained while you are cooking or cleaning up the kitchen.

Fabric or Sheets

Any extra fabric scraps or sheets not in use can create great toys for kids. They can entertain themselves with making superhero costumes, complete with capes! They can also take sheets, blankets, and pillow and makes forts in the living room or dining room. This can create hours of fun for kids. I know that my nieces and nephews think it is beyond great when I make forts with them. I get the cool auntie award 😉


Save newspapers or magazines for kids use during art time. They can cut out words and pictures, and glue to them to pieces of paper to make collages. Or they can be torn into strips to make paper mache shapes.

The Outdoors

Not enough parents take advantage of this one. There is a lot outside for kids to do. They can make mud pies, play fort, make things with sticks, the list goes on. Get creative, or encourage your kids to get creative. They will mostly likely come in tired, dirty, and hungry, but they will have so much fun it will be worth it!


Any clothes that you don’t wear anymore (or ones that you don’t mind if they get ruined) you can give to the kids for a great game of dress up or theater. When I was little, I remember making up plays with my siblings and then acting them out for my parents. Having dress up clothes to go with it would only make it better!

Wood Scraps

Depending on the age, there are a number of things that can be done with wood scraps. For older kids, they can be used to make things, such as shelves and tables. For younger kids, you can smooth the edges and allow them to stack them up. I know my son loves to stack up blocks and push them over to watch them tumble down!

Now for the big question, what did I end up buying for my nephew? I bought him a little gardening kit, complete with a hat and gloves. They live on a nice acreage with a big garden area, and I know he will have a great time playing in the dirt and plants with his mom (and maybe his aunt too!).

Have you given any of these toys to your kids before?