Homemade Toys

"How often have we heard about the child who took the toy out of the box, then played with the box?" asks Marianne Torbert, director of the Leonard Gordon Institute for Human Development through Play at Temple University. She suggests that parents "go back to basics" and try homemade toys, including the following (from her book "Follow Me: A Handbook of Movement Activities for Children"):

  • Scoop Catchers -- Rinse a gallon milk jug thoroughly. If you immediately cut out the bottom you will have less "souring." Save caps.

    Using a sharp knife or scissors, carefully cut the bottom out of the plastic jug. Tape the cut edges for safety. You now have a scoop catcher. Besides being a lot of fun, this scoop will encourage proper force absorption and a good follow-through.

    Place a soft ball in the toe of a nylon stocking, then put the other end through the pour spout opening. Fasten it by screwing the cap on to create a ball and scoop catcher that can be used by a solitary player.

  • Newspaper Bat -- Tightly roll sheets of newspaper to make a bat. It helps if you develop a rolling technique that finishes with a fold rather than with many edges on the outside. Secure with tape.
  • Carpet Skates -- Pieces of carpet cut to an inch or two longer than the child’s foot and a little wider than the foot can be placed under each foot, reducing the amount of speed that can be built up and making it possible for children to be active in less space. Carpet skates may also provide a vigorous workout of the abdominal muscles and the legs and can in some situations provide a cardiovascular workout.