10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought

Whether it's to save money, avoid harsh chemicals, or simply for the joy of creating, there are tons of good reasons to make your own baby and child products. (See also: 7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Better and Cheaper Than Store Bought)

If you're feeling that DIY itch coming on, try these homemade child and baby products that are both cheaper, and better quality, than what you'll find at the store.

1. Baby Food

Pouches and jars of store-bought baby food are convenient, but homemade baby food tastes better and is more nutritious, not to mention cheaper (most pouches run over $1 each, which can add up with a hungry baby!). With my first baby I kept a variety of pre-packaged baby food for emergencies, but for meals at home I definitely made my own purees. Here's a great place to look for baby food recipes. Any fruit or veggie, cooked until soft, can be pureed, and the combinations are endless!

Freeze extra purees in ice-cube trays for convenience. Then at mealtimes, heat up a few cubes. You can also buy reusable baby food pouches (easily cleaned in the dishwasher) for bringing homemade purees out when you're on the go — just remember to pack them with an ice-pack.

2. Diaper Rash Cream

With all the unpronounceable ingredients found in baby products these days, it's nice to know exactly what's going onto your baby's bottom. This recipe for natural diaper cream works as well or better than store bought. Although you'll have to buy all the ingredients, you'll spend less than buying the expensive organic brand diaper creams in the long run.

3. Baby Laundry Detergent

Little ones have sensitive skin that can sometimes be irritated by the chemicals in commercial detergents. It is easy and cheap to make your own with minimal and natural ingredients. Check out this tutorial on how to make your own natural baby laundry detergent.

4. Baby Wipes

If your child has sensitive skin, the alcohol in store-bought wipes might irritate his or her skin. You can make your own homemade baby wipes that don't have any irritating ingredients and that are almost as convenient as store-bought wipes.

5. Toys

If you've ever hung out with a baby or toddler, you'll have quickly realized that they can be surrounded by the most expensive, fancy, developmentally-appropriate toys, but all they want to do is play with a cardboard box. In fact, one of the most fun things to do with your child is to make things together. My daughter and I have spent hours creating furniture for her dollhouse (which was also a DIY my husband nailed together from wood boards). Cardboard beds, "paintings" for the walls, blankets and towels, a bathtub made from a plastic food box — all of these have inspired hours of creative play.

Other examples of DIY toys we've tried include:

  • Plastic cups and a wooden spoon for play cooking
  • A hand-drawn "map" to drive toy cars on
  • A paper gift bag and some play "money" made of paper for pretend shopping
  • Paper crowns for dress-up
  • Homemade play-dough

The vast majority of the "interactive" toys — the ones that make noises and have blinking lights — sit forgotten in the toy box. It's the toys with scope for imagination that get the most use.

6. Kids' Paints

Kids love to do crafts, and you can make your own washable watercolor paints, diy non-toxic finger paints, face paint, or washable sidewalk paint. Paint isn't expensive to buy, but by making your own you can ensure you know exactly what is going into each paint, in case little painted fingers find their way into curious mouths. Also, since these paints are made with common household materials, you have an unlimited supply.

7. Accessories

It seems crazy to spend a lot of money on kids' accessories when they're just going to get lost under the sofa cushions, so good thing it's super easy to make your own hair clips and accessories with some basic supplies and a glue gun. Check out these tutorials for ribbon hairclips, baby headbands, and for the little man in your life, baby bowties. In my opinion, these diy accessories are cuter than store-bought ones anyway.

8. Baby Linens

If you know how to use a sewing machine, the following baby linens can be made by sewing more-or-less straight lines. You'll have the satisfaction of having your child sleep in bespoke linens right from birth.

9. Bubble Solution

Kids love bubbles and go through bubble solution fast! Instead of buying the bottles from the store, try making your own homemade bubble solution, which allows you to make as much as you need with easily accessible ingredients.

10. Nursery Decorations

Decorate your child's room with some DIY art — better yet, involve your child in the creation of the room's decor. Try this cute button monogram art, a yarn mobile, embroidery hoop art, or a cute DIY garland for your child's room. Decor for kids' rooms can get expensive if you buy it in the store, and your homemade creations will be much more special.

Do you create for your child? What kids' products have you made that are better than store-bought?

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