Here are some cheap toy ideas.
A hit here is a bundle of straws with a plastic zip tie zipped tightly in the middle. It forms like a star. Some of my conure friends use colorful coffee stirrers. Zip ties can be found at Home Depot. Electricians use them to bundle wire.
Branches from bottle brush trees and orange trees. Sterilize the branches in the oven to kill bugs then pass them out. The birds love stripping bark. Flowers from the hibiscus bush are fun also and safe to eat. Just rinse them well.
A cotton glove filled with dry grass and crunchy stuff. Tie tightly on top and hang from the top of the cage. Conures love to chew through cloth; the holes in my shirts testify to that.
Birdie bagels. They are circles of compressed brown paper. Under a dollar and lots of shredding fun. You can find them at bird fairs and they also can be found at some stores online.
Get brown napkins (like from Taco bell) and tie them in bows for fun foot toys. Nandays love to shred newspaper - give them black and white newspaper, but not color pages. However, shredding does simulate nesting behavior. Generally it's not a good idea to allow a sexually mature hen to shred, especially if there is a history of unwanted egg laying. Even allowing a male Nanday to shred is problematic in that the activity may trigger a breeding hormonal surge.
Popsicle sticks and old fashioned wooden clothes pins are great chewing fun. Search the dollar stores for good bird things. That is where you can often find the cotton gloves.
Tissues such as Kleenex. They're cheap, non toxic, and my bird goes nuts for them. A single tissue won't last long, but boy will it satisfy your bird's urge to destroy something. I like to either crumple one up in my hand and make my bird dig for it, or twist one up into a flower-type shape and just give it to her. The downside is that it can be a tad messy depending on how thoroughly your bird shreds it up, but I have yet to find a more simple and effective way to entertain my Nanday.
Purchase toy kits from http://www.discountbirdtoys.com. She will soon start selling toy parts also. You can get cute conure toys for under ten dollars. Toys for big birds run about fifteen in a kit.
Watch out for yarn in toys. It will snag toe nails and cause injury. So will soft cotton rope. Also watch out for rope that separates. Many a bird has been found hung in the cage because it got its head tangled up in a rope toy. I prefer sisal or poly rope for my toys. Never use any metal that you do not know for sure is stainless steel!
You also can use baby toys, mine love rattles and the various c-links that different companies put out. Wooden alphabet blocks that have the words, "non-toxic" are good. "Weebles" are a big hit here. Basically, anything that is safe for a baby, is safe for your bird.
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