Got the rainy day blues? Cabin fever? Are you stuck in a rut or are you just looking for some affordable outlets for your little ones, toddlers, and perhaps older siblings? Would you like some ideas on how to produce inexpensive and unique toys and entertainment for your offspring? Ideas for new, different and creative toys can come from practically every corner of the house. You may just need a healthy “how” to nudge you in the right direction. Try these ideas for recycling common household items to get started.
Soda bottle trucks
As the rain hit the black sands of the Pacific coast fishing village where I was spending my vacation, I noticed that the downpour never stopped the children. What I also noticed were their cleverly designed toy trucks made out of water or soda bottles. Each child ran along streams pulling a truck loaded with sand. Converting the plastic bottle into a truck was childishly simple. Four bottle caps served as wheels. Two shafts were formed from two pieces of wire for three and a half inches long hangers. The cables passed through the sides of the bottle and through a plastic cap on each side. The ends of the cable were bent to hold the wheels on the bottle cap. A part of the other side of the bottle was cut off to create a cargo compartment. A rope was tied around the neck of the bottle. Load the cargo bay with sand, rocks, marbles, small figures, screws, nuts, and bolts, whatever, and the truck was ready to go.
Shake the rattle and roll
Empty metal, cardboard, or plastic containers make great noise-making toys for little ones. Round cereal containers, powdered or dry, granulated, and some liquid products work well, especially if they have resealable lids. You can partially fill them with gravel, marbles, clean sand, seeds, dried beans, rice, etc. to create different sound effects. Be sure to permanently glue or seal the assembly to prevent curious young children from opening and swallowing the contents. They are also washable, so they can be easily washed or cleaned. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can think of.
An all-time favorite toy among children and adults alike, kites have been around for over 4,000 years since their invention in China. Originally made from paper and bamboo, materials for making kites now range from original paper and bamboo to nylon, fabric, plastics, and even sheet metal. Not strictly for kids, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite into scientific history. The Greek scientist Archytas of Tarentum from the 5th century BC. C. has the merit of having introduced kite flying in Europe. Here are some referral websites for you to get up, get up, and walk away:
• http://www.skratch-pad.com/kites/make.html Have you ever wanted to build a kite? Well, here is a simple kite that you can make yourself.
• http://www.ehow.com/how_1288_make-kite.html How to make a kite. While kites are cheap to buy, making one adds to the fun. You’ll be especially proud when your diamond-shaped creation soars into the sky.
• http://www.aloha.net/~bigwind/20kidskites.html These are the complete time-tested instructions for kids to make their own kites and fly them in 20 minutes.
• http://www.planemath.com/activities/flykite/kiteplans.html Here are simpler kite plans to help you and your kids get started.
• http://scsc.essortment.com/howtobuilda_rlrf.htm Kites are fun for young and old alike. You can build your own kite or help your kids build one by reading this article!
It’s just a big jump from kites to airplanes. Inexpensive and easy-to-produce flyable airplanes can be made from paper, plastic, or balsa wood, available at hobby stores, craft and construction supply stores, and hardware stores. Like kites, they are intriguing, a lot of fun, and easy to do. Flying them can be a bit trickier, but who cares? Time is sure to fly when you’re having fun! Try these websites for a quick takeoff:
• [http://www.cdli.ca/CITE/paper.htm] This page lists some of the best websites on how to make and fly paper airplanes.
• http://paperplane.org/ Ken Blackburn, website to share what you know about paper airplanes. He holds the Guinness record for flying time on paper airplanes.
• http://www.exploratorium.edu/exploring/paper/airplanes.html The most amazing thing about a paper airplane is that all you need to make one is
a sheet of paper, nothing more.
• http://www.paperairplanes.co.uk/ Alex’s Paper Airplanes
Cobra Paper Airplane The Planes – This is an index that lists all paper airplanes
currently on the site rated for how easy it is to do
Here you have some ideas on how to produce unique and inexpensive toys and entertainment for your little ones, toddlers, and their older siblings. Ideas for new, different and modified versions of your creations will flow from virtually every corner of the house. Who knows, you might even develop something salable. Toy conglomerates are always looking for the next hot item.