Fun yet simple creative toys that you and your kids can make

Do you have the rainy day blues? Cabin fever? Stuck in a rut, or just looking for affordable outlets for your little ones, toddlers, and maybe older siblings? Would you like some ideas to produce unique and inexpensive toys and entertainment for your progeny? Ideas for new, different, and creative toys can come from just about every corner of the house. You may just need a healthy “how to” push 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 vacationing, I noticed that the downpour never stopped the kids. What I also noticed was his cleverly crafted toy trucks made from water or soda bottles. Each child ran through rivers of water pulling a truck loaded with sand. Turning the plastic bottle into a truck was childishly simple. Four bottle caps served as wheels. Two axles were fashioned from two pieces of coat hanger wire three and a half inches long. The wires were passed up the sides of the bottle and through a plastic bottle cap on each side. The ends of the wire were bent to hold the wheels on the bottle caps. A portion of the other side of the bottle was cut away to create a loading bay. The rope was tied around the neck of the bottle. Load the cargo bay with sand, rocks, marbles, small figures, screws, nuts and bolts, you name it, and the truck was ready to go.

Shake the rattle and roll

Empty metal, cardboard, or plastic containers make great noisemakers for little ones. Round containers of cereals, dry or powdered, granulated, and some liquid products work well, especially if they have resealable lids. You can partially fill them with gravel, marbles, clean sand, seeds, dry beans, rice, etc. to create different sound effects. Be sure to super glue or permanently 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 come up with.

Flying high

An all-time favorite toy for children and adults alike, kites have been around for over 4,000 years since their invention in China. Originally made of paper and bamboo, kite-making materials now range from the original paper and bamboo to nylon, cloth, plastics, and even metal sheets. Not strictly for kids, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite into scientific history. To the Greek scientist of the V century a. Archytas of Tarentum is credited with introducing kite flying to Europe. Here are some reference websites to get you up, up, and away:

• Have you ever wanted to build a kite? Well, here is a simple kite that you can make yourself!

• How to make a kite. While kites are cheap to buy, making one adds to the fun. You’ll feel especially proud when your diamond-shaped creation takes to the air.

• Here are the complete, proven instructions for kids to make their own kites and fly them in 20 minutes.

• These are simpler kite plans to help you and your kids get started

• Kites are fun for young and old alike. You can build your own kite or help your kids build one by reading this article!

airport center

It’s not much of a 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 make. Flying them can be a bit trickier, but who cares? Time flies when you’re having fun! Try these websites for a quick launch:

• [] This page lists some of the best websites on how to make and fly paper airplanes.

• Ken Blackburn, a website to share what you know about paper planes. It holds the Guinness World Record for the longest time in the air for paper airplanes.

• The most amazing thing about a paper airplane is that all you need to make one is
a sheet of paper, nothing more.

• Alex’s Paper Planes
Cobra Paper Airplane The Planes – This is an index listing all paper airplanes
currently on the site ranked for how easy it is to do

Here are some ideas for producing 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.