Monday, February 04, 2013

A toast to cardboard toys

Welcome to a new series on toys made from junk. Not the fancy stuff I make to sell, the stuff we can all make from something in the recycle bin. There are some very impressive upcycled kids toy makeovers on design blogs and Pinterest, but in some ways those are more for the parents sense of style and accomplishment. Just tiny versions of our obsession with Personality Expressed through Home Improvement. I like projects that are scrappy, not too precious, that the child can participate in making too.

First up is toast.

Easy thing to make when you are hungry, easy thing to make when you are pretending to be hungry. Pretend food is a pretty common gender neutral play item. From plastic reproductions of McDonald's happy meals to heirloom wooden cucumbers that slice apart with Velcro action, you can find this type of toy in every price range and dietary niche. We have a fun selection of fabric vegetables from Ikea that Franklin was using to whip up pretend breakfast for me. And although cabbage is a refreshing breakfast item, his favorite food is toast. As I pretended to chew a cabbage leaf wrapped around an entire leek, I thought about some amazing faux bread I have seen around. But knowing that no respectable toy store would be open at 7am on a Sunday morning, I headed to our stockade of corrugated.

We do have the advantage of Steeb bringing home an amazing selection of cardboard from the grocery store(see photo of watermelon box above) but almost every home has some cluttering up the recycle bins. I just cut a super basic toast shape free hand and then colored the edge to look more like crust. You could trace a piece of bread if you don't feel comfortable with intuitive loaf forming. Franklin "buttered" the toast and we were ready to play.

I found another random box that could be a toaster. I thought about cutting holes in the top or adding a knob or covering it in tinfoil to look like metal, but in the moment, this worked. And it is still a box that could find some other use this afternoon.

It doesn't take crazy craft skills or special tools to make simple toys. It's good for you, your kids' imagination and the earth. Now, what's for lunch?

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