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Old 10-16-2009, 04:30 PM
Location: Australia
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I was reminded on another thread about kids birthdays and toys. I got sick of our kids having boxes and boxes of cheap plastic toys. Well not so cheap actually. They seemed to cost about $30 each. Each time we went to a birthday party, it was off to the toy shop for a plastic toy that came out of my wallet and each time we had a birthday party we would receive a huge pile of these things too. The kids seemed to play enthusiastically with them for about five minutes before they had done whatever thing they did and then move on.

I remember as kids that we got along with life without all these plastic toys. We made our own. Nailing wood together to make guns, billy carts, flag poles for a pirate ship, boats and so on.

We have also had some wooden toys that grandfather has made with wheels that turned and were a great favourite.

What about things that are not inteded to be toys but turn out to be great toys. Like the real pots and pans that are used to cook imaginary meals by your 2 y.o.

What are your Experiences and Ideas for home made toys ?
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:34 PM
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My kids have gotten into fingerknitting. They knit these long "shawls" and use them on their cheap plastic crap.

I imagine most parents nowdays wouldn't let their kids near a saw or hammer or a whittling knife.

There's always the large box, if you can get more than one, they build a complex.

A long plastic chain was a great favorite for many years.

Most of my kids' toys they actually play with are paints, crayons, glue, and other craft stuff.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:50 PM
Location: Southern California
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Storage boxes and shoe boxed
-- I used masking tape to cover the edges so no paper cuts.
-- cut square holes and circle holes too, and let their imagination go

Folding Table with bed sheets, and throw pillows and blankets.

Instead of the pots and pans, I give them tupperware or those disposable plastic containers.
They stack!
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:17 AM
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Making a tent with a big sheet and draping it between furniture.
Paper towel rolls (my son pretends those are many different things)
calculators (most people have them in the house and my kids like to pretend they are phones)
Big boxes
By cutting out the center of a paper plate and just leaving the outer ring you can make great wreaths for your door. My kids and I do this for every season, right now we have a paper plate ring decorated with colorful leaves they found in the lawn. It looks adorable.
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:18 PM
Location: Ashburn, VA
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As far as birthdays for other kids go, I'm one of those moms who give books, games or puzzles as gifts. I hope that the 5 year old I gave Sight Word Bingo to didn't think it was lame... A basket of craft related items might be a good gift, too. Pipe cleaners, felt, colored string, etc. I made a home-made felt board for my child last year and she had fun with that (for a while).

For our child's latest birthday we gave her Lincoln Logs. Kind of an old favorite from our youth and still a relatively open-ended, creative toy. Last year at Christmas time I was at TJ Maxx and a woman was there buying gifts for her grandchild. She was collecting cooking items that were made for kids (or at least child sized). The items were functional and fun, not plastic toy versions of the real thing. I thought that was a great idea. I think they were like these and these. When we get a box in the mail the box always stays around for a while while my child plays with it.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:39 PM
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I make the old wood throw spinning tops... The kind you wrap the string around and then throw it... I've also made wooden yo-yo's...I've also made a spinning top with a string you pull and it falls to the ground and spins. I've been wanting to make some of the old type paper kites with the sticks but I haven't gotten to it yet.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:11 AM
Location: Australia
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Its nice to know kids can play without bought toys.

Here are some others that our kids enjoy
Rope - they haul baskets up or tow a kid on a skate board behind their bike or skip

They get a piece of wood about a foot x maybe two feet. Put it on a tennis ball and try to balance on it.

Home made kites. Bought ones too.

Water melon boats. We cut the watermelon in half, ate the middle out of it and then floated the skin if that makes sense. They had to work out how to make it not fall over at the slightest wave.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:51 AM
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I was pretty happy with those cheap plastic army men and cowboys as a kid. We'd have range wars in the garden, make corrals out of twigs and bunkhouses out of popsicle sticks. When the ground dried out in summer it became like an Arizona desert. Throw in some plastic dinosaurs and the garden became a jungle land that time forgot.
Or an inside game was even better. Find a cluttered room with a lot of shelves, book cases, chairs, etc. Get a paper clip and some string to be a treble hook and rope and the little guys became explorers going into the center of the earth. They'd go from ledge to tunnel to underground lake fighting dinosaurs or even the occasional giant dog monster.
Now outside my brother and I would have epic naval battles where any unfortunate insects we'd find would become the participants. You'd get some leaves(sails), popsicle sticks( ships and rafts), toothpicks( masts) and find a good assortment of bugs to be the crews. Japanese beetles always made excellent pirates with their little hook like claws( arrrrh, matey) and good ability to swim and not sink. They do a mean breast stroke , did you know that? Ants and other beetles were good as were caterpillars. Even bugs from under rocks got shanghaied if we needed more crew.
Get a good sized birdbath or wash tub and assemble your crews. Then when they'd sail and float into each other, the boarding parties would attack. Japanese beetles would fall into the water and swim until they found a ship to crawl aboard and would then crawl over any other bug that was in there way. Usually the other bugs wouldn't like this and you'd get a good deal of commotion. Eventually they'd all try to climb the toothpick masts with leaf sails and try to fly away( if they had wings). If you kept them waterlogged enough they'd have trouble and sometimes the ships would founder by becoming top heavy and capsize. Then it was every man( bug) for himself.
We also had the bug jar with the stick in the center and would have litterally dozens of beetles climbing over each other to try to get to the top. We'd watch to see which ones got to the top and could hang on and when the pile just got too big and down they'd all go. Hey japanese beetles were everywhere back then and would eat the neighbors roses as well as cover our cherry tree and eat its leaves.
Nowadays kids sit in front of the TV, video game or computer and have zero interaction with the natural world around them.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:12 AM
Location: The Hall of Justice
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I love buying handmade items from Etsy.com. I am buying a darling set of finger puppets today for my nephew, whose first birthday is later this month. I am also buying some reusable produce bags for my mom for her birthday, which come in a cute little pouch she can clip onto the reusable grocery bags I got her last year.

I can't plug Etsy enough.

Last edited by JustJulia; 10-19-2009 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:20 PM
4,253 posts, read 8,881,737 times
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I've never seen a 6yo girl sewing? I just showed my daughter simple stitches the other day and she made two pillows already? One is a cat with ears? She used to ask me to sew rag dolls for her, but now she can make them herself? It's amazing.
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