Parrots can be little buzz saws! So it's nice to find some economical ways to keep them busy. One of the ways I do this is by scouring my local dollar stores. They have many things you can use for bird toys and other enrichment. I've put together a list of some of the many items I've found for my birds. Keep in mind that the inventory changes often and different stores carry different items. You can buy most things online, but then you'll need to order a case at a time.
I've put together a Pinterest Board with all of these ideas and more. While you're there check out the specific sections, which will give you LOTS of inspiration on what to do with each of your dollar store finds.
As you're reading through our list, please keep in mind how YOUR bird interacts with different toy parts, and be sure the item will be safe for him or her.
Ok, on with our list...
Kids Sectioned Plastic Food Trays
Thick plastic trays make great toy bases to hang on the sides of cages (think of busy mat sea grass toys). You can drill through the center of each section and use jute or zip ties to attach mahogany pods, mini sea grass mats, beads and other toy parts. The nice thing about using these for a busy mat is that they're sturdy and for most birds, you'll just be able to replace the toys hanging on it as they destroy them.
I love these cups! You can make foot toys with them, attach them to skewers or put them in treat cages. I recently did a post where I show how to use them to "up your birds foraging game". I made slight changes to the toy to make it just a bit more difficult with each one.
You can check out that blog post here.
There are lots of ideas for using cups like this for parrot toys on this Pinterest Board .
These make great foraging buckets or storage for foot toys. You can hang them in or outside of the cage AND they're super cute. Just be careful of the handle. Depending on the size of your bird, you may want to remove it if you feel they could potentially get caught in it.
Visit this Pinterest Board to get more inspiration for making toys using buckets.
Paper shred is great to use in toys. You can stuff small cardboard boxes with it and hide a treat in the middle or put it in a foraging tray. I also like to stuff it in finger traps, vine balls, paper tubes, condiment cups and sea grass mats. Our Rose Breasted Too loves to pull it all out. Below is a picture of our Rose Breasted Cockatoo foraging for a few treats in her foraging tray.
Visit our Paper Shred Pinterest Board for inspiration to make your own toys using paper shred.
Craft sticks can be used for foot toys,skewer toys or toys hung on rope. Dollar stores usually carry the regular and jumbo size. I made this foraging toy for our Meyers Parrot. It's just craft sticks pushed through a paper tube. Before pushing them completely through I put a Nutriberry wrapped in paper inside.
Visit this Pinterest Board to get more inspiration for making parrot toys with craft sticks.
Coin wrappers can be stuffed with a treat and paper shred to make foot toys, and strung on rope or on a skewer. They can also be left flat. Punch holes in them and stack them on toys.
We have a few coin wrapper toy ideas on this Pinterest Board.
Coffee Filters can be used for foraging and toy making. For foraging toys, just wrap favorite treats and toys inside one (or more for bigger birds) and tie it shut. You can also make puff balls with them or stack them for skewer or rope toys. They can be dyed bright colors.
Visit this Pinterest Board for ideas.
Use a Crop-A-Dile to punch holes into the middle of puzzle pieces and string them onto skewers, rope or foot toys. Buy larger count puzzles (with smaller pieces) for smaller birds, and smaller count puzzles (with larger pieces) for bigger birds.
For some inspiration for using puzzle pieces in bird toys visit this Pinterest Board.
Paper straws are a super cute addition to foot toys. They can be cut in 1-2" pieces to make straw beads to hang on skewer or rope toys.
Most dollar stores also carry plastic straws which are great for making bunches of curly-q straws. You can also make a foraging toy out of jumbo plastic straws. Seal one end of the straw shut using a food bag heat sealer (or lighter). Then fill the straw with some treats, cut to size and seal the other end. Makes a great foot toy or attach it to an existing toy or in a treat cage. Of course the straw should be completely cooled before giving it to your bird (but it should only take a few seconds). There's a super quick video showing the basics of sealing the straw. It's not related to bird toys, but is a nice easy explanation so I thought I'd link to it.
Visit this Pinterest Board to get more ideas on using paper and plastic straws for Parrot Toys.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Measuring cups are great to add to toys that attach across a chain. Or you can group them together. You can use Stainless Steel ones as well, but be careful if you see those at a dollar store. They're not always stainless and can rust. Plus, if you use the plastic ones your birds can still clank them around but they won't drive you nuts with all the noise!
Here's a link to our Pinterest Board of Measuring Cup/Spoon Toy ideas.
Check out our Pinterest Board "Dollar Store Parrot Toy Finds" for more products you can use and inspiration on how to use them. Things like:
Paper Lunch Bags
As always, please be watchful of your bird interacts with any new items you introduce. Know your bird and be as careful as possible! Nothing is 100% safe for every bird.
Make QUICK and INEXPENSIVE bird toys using dollar store items and toy parts with our Bird Toy Builder!