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Eco-Friendly Toy DIY Project. Make Your Own Habitat Animal House.

This morning I walked past a house with an empty dollhouse-shaped bookshelf left outside for someone to have, and it reminded me of a birthday project I did in February for my youngest son. He likes animal figures and he likes hiding things. So I thought I'd combine these two things into an animal habitat house for his birthday. I've also seen these as dinosaur kingdoms.

The finished habitat play house for my son

I sourced a wooden house bookshelf for free on Facebook Marketplace. In hindsight, I recommend ensuring the one you get is stable. I had to spend time and money to stabilise the one I got as it was wobbly. Also I recommend using a spray glue or glue gun so you have more coverage for sticking.

I raided my cupboards for bits I could use. I had cardboard packaging and tubes, some fake grass scraps, plastic gems from a previous project, left over sample paint and acrylic paint, toys that might be usable like fences, pine cones and wooden blocks, felt and fabric scraps. I visited the pet store for extra bits, which felt rather weird, but I purchased some foliage, a reptile water tray and because I knew my son would like a slide, I bought a hamster tube. I drew out my ideas for the layout, as I found it helped to organise how I might use the plethora of items I had accumulated, as I wanted to avoid buying lots of new items and use as much as I had already.

The whole project took about 4 evenings and a Sunday, and I ended up creating a top floor rainforest and forest area with caves, a savannah area with a watering hole, a pond, a polar area and a farm. I included lots of areas where the animals can be hidden as this was a focus for the project. The caves and igloo are removable so animals cannot get stuck inside these.

My son had some animals already, but I topped up with some more sourced secondhand. I did need to also purchase an igloo (from Yellow Door) as the white polystyrene pellets I had just didn't work as snow or an igloo so I used white felt.

I'm really pleased with the end result. It is simple and uncomplicated but offers enough as an invitation to play and it felt really good to be able to use so much of what I already had.

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