Monday, May 3, 2010

Make Your Own Toys

Yesterday it rained. It was dreary and soggy and drab.  And quite honestly I felt like I might lose my mind if we had to just sit inside the house all day milling around.  But, there really was no where to go. It was one of those days where the toys in the house seem dull to the kids and the minutes seem to drag on. I had to think of something. 
Luckily, something came to me.  I thought about some of the Little House on the Prairie books that I've read to my kids.  Back in the old days they had to make their own fun.  They made dolls from corn husks and balls from pig bladders...but wait, I didn't have any pig bladders lying around the house.  Darn. 
But the point is that they made their own toys from what they had.  So, I sifted through my messy hall closet and found all kinds of stuff that we could use to make our own toys. String, clothespins, rubberbands, some dryer vent tape, bent up pipe cleaners, some old birthday balloons, etc. The kids retrieved the recently emptied tubes from the toilet paper and paper towel rolls and were in business. Here's some of what we had to work with:
These pipe cleaners had obviously been particpants in previous projects.  They looked loved.
I even found some googly eyes.  I love googly eyes.  If you don't have these on hand, well, you should think about it.

I got out the trusty old hot glue gun and explained the concept.
I told the kids that we weren't trying to make and arts and craft project.  We were making our own toys.  They could use any supplies that we had availabe in the house and the goal was to make something that they actually wanted to play with.  And with that, we got started.
I took us a minute to get the juices flowing.  We made a paintbrush.

and an ice cream cone.
And then the inspiration starting coming.
How about a thunder monster!
We spooned rice into balloons,
 blew them up, and then tied them all together with yarn.
After adding some googly eyes and drawing some hair this monster was ready to rumble.  When you held onto the string and shook him he roared a thundering monster roar. 

So, of course there was chasing involved.

Then, husband came in and showed us how to make these:
Rubberband guns.  When you squeese that clothespin on the end the rubberbands go flying and children begin jumping up and down and giggling.

Then, without any creative prompting whatsoever, my daughter comes up with this:
a marionette puppet.

The inventions went on and on.  Three hours,(no I'm not kidding.  Really, three hours) later I had to force them to quit so that we could use the table for dinner.  Now, I'm not guaranteeing any three hour miracle every time you do this.  But, I do promise that you can come up with some cool stuff and have a great time on a rainy day...or a sunny day...if you'll dig through your stuff and try to make some new toys from what you already have. You'll be surprised at how resourceful you can be. Happy toymaking.

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