As I sit in my living room writing this, I am looking at what can only be described as a toy disaster. The room looks as if a big toy bomb went off and rained down doodle pads and legos and match box cars from the sky. I'm realizing two things. 1) My 3 year old has more toys than should be allowed by law. 2) We didn't buy them!
I'll admit to getting him a few toys/games at Christmas. For his birthday we buy him one gift. And that's it for new things. Throughout the year we may pick something up at a yard sale or thrift store once in awhile, otherwise he is seriously spoiled by friends and family.
I almost hate to admit (okay, I absolutely LOVE it) that his favorite toys right now are the rocket ship that his dad helped him make last weekend and the flying caterpillar that he and I made this week. It makes me wonder just what would happen if we weren't blessed with so many generous people in our lives. Would second hand and hand made be enough for him? I'd like to think so.
Here are the projects we did this week...
#1 - The spaceship
My son is totally into rockets and astronauts and planets this month. He has the planets more or less memorized (although he calls them "Jupiper" and "Saturin").
He and his dad got all MacGuyver on a paper towel roll and cardboard from a cereal box. We don't even use paper towels anymore so I had to go dig out a secret stashed-away roll and unravel the paper towels from it. They cut out "legs" for the spaceship and taped them on, then made a cone for the top. All put together with duct tape. Not exactly environmentally friendly, but much more so than the plastic rocket they saw at the store that was made in China from goodness-knows-what kind of chemical-laden plastic, right?
(My husband took these photos, I think this was his attempt at a MacGuyver joke!)Little one played with it all day, flying it around and giving a play-by-play of what was happening. He's developing quite the little imagination!
#2 - The Caterpillar
This idea came from a little book we found called Making Caterpillars and Butterflies by Sandy Dunbier. We haven't tried the butterfly yet, but the caterpillar was super-easy. You take an egg carton and cut out a strip from the bottom. That's the body. Have the child paint it and decorate with anything you have on hand. We don't have any glitter or sparkles like they suggested, so we just painted ours. Then use a pipe cleaner for antenna. We also glued on button eyes and yarn for a mouth.
These projects are so easy. They not only keep your child occupied (especially on those winter "inside days") but they teach things like planning and following directions. In the end, they have a toy they can be proud of, that has cost you next to nothing, and is much easier on the environment than what you'll find in a store.
I'll be hosting next week's Make if From Scratch blog carnival over at my blog Greenhab. I hope you'll all enter!