One Dollar Baby Toys: Personalized Box Rattle

Babies don't really need a lot of stuff to be happy. They do delight in experiencing new shapes, textures, and colors, but there is plenty around the house that can just be given to baby outright to play with (wooden bowls, large wooden spools, etc.) and plenty of other things, that with a little transformation can become a dedicated plaything.

For this project, I started with a small paperboard gift box that I picked up at the craft store for under a dollar. I filled it with dried lentils. Not only do the lentils have a beautiful rainstick-like sound, they are also small enough that baby won't choke on them should the box accidentally come open. I then ran a line of hot glue around the inside of the lid and put the lid on the box, holding it in place for a moment or to so the glue could set.

I added his name to the lid with rub-on transfers that I had leftover from my scrapbooking days. The transfers claim to be non-toxic, but I decided to keep them to a minimum and to limit them to the top of the box, which I think he'll be less likely to put in his mouth, just in case.

You could do initials, a clever saying, or a small image. The possibilities are endless.

And that's it! Most rattles are curvilinear, but this square box let's Silas experience a different shape and a different texture from the wood and fabric of his other rattles. He loves it!

Happy Fourth of July to you!


  1. The opening line to this post says it all! My friends and family have been giving me a hard time (lovingly of course) about not putting enough toys on my baby registry. Just wait 'til they find out about the cloth diapers I registered for! ;)

    I loved your guest post on by the way. :)

  2. Great idea! We got a ton of baby toys with Trinity (most of which I didn't register for), and most of them went un-played with while she opted for cooking utensils, laundry baskets full of clean clothes, and other everyday household objects. Homemade fun is so much better!

  3. Oh, aren't the simplest, home-made toys just the very best. Silas definitely seems to enjoy it. Lovely idea.

  4. cute! when finn was small, I made a rattle by filling an old baking soda tin with dried lentils. He played with that for close to a year.

  5. I love this idea - and you make an especially good point about it being a different shape and texture (all our rattles are cloth or plastic, too) but I have one question - what happened after he mouthed it/drooled on it for a while? Did the cardboard get mushy or break apart in his mouth at all?

  6. @ Kate: I worried about that too, but so far it's held up. I think it's a "use with supervision" toy for exactly the reason that you mention.