Toys are great. What kid doesn’t like toys? For that matter, what parent doesn’t like toys? There are big toys, little toys, round toys, and long toys. (Sounds like I’m writing a Dr. Seuss book here.) Most toys in my house come from one store or another, but then there are the special toys. These toys did not come from a store. These are the homemade toys that were made for my son or made with my son. There is the paper mask, or the cape from an old towel, or the rocket we made during Hurricane Sandy out of old boxes and tape, or the wooden pirate ship we painted together.
These are the toys that need tape right away when they break or rip, and the break and rip often. These are the toys that get played with over and over again. These are the toys that my son seems to cherish the most (even though he doesn’t say that, or even understand it). How do I know? A couple of years ago we needed a king costume. We didn’t want to spend any money because my son is finicky. We would by a costume and he would decide he wasn’t going to wear it. Of course, this time he wanted a costume. Thanks to some quick thinking I made a crown out of construction paper, tape, and a cape out of a towel. My son loved it and I liked making it. He even helped with the tape. He wore it proudly and the following year when I had a “real” crown for him he wanted the homemade one instead.
Here’s another example. My son wanted a cape. Instead of buying one I made one out of an old towel. He loved that one too. On Halloween that is what he wanted to wear out. I recently bought him a “real” cape. I’m sure he’s going to love it, but I can almost guarantee that the towel cape will not be going anywhere. That will probably still get the most play time.
This happens over and over again. Maybe kids know how much care and love goes into the homemade toys. Maybe they are proud that they helped make them. Maybe they are proud that their father helped make them. Whatever it is these toys are special.
Being an art teacher I might be an exception to the rule when it comes to making toys and costumes. I love being able to grab some stuff around the house and turn it into something. However, you don’t have to be an art teacher to make something with your child. You just need a little creativity. You aren’t making a masterpiece, just something that will be fun to play with for a little while. If it lasts more than an hour even better. What you are creating is a great memory for you and your child.
So next time your child wants a cape or a king’s crown make it yourself. You might be surprised at how special that toy becomes.