Hesperian Health Guides
Toys Children Can Make
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In a community rehabilitation program it is essential to have lots of toys—different playthings for children at different levels of development who have different strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
|There is an old saying ...
"THEY WHO CHOP
THEIR OWN FIREWOOD
WARM THEMSELVES TWICE!"
|We have a new saying...|
"THE FAMILY THAT MAKES
ITS OWN TOYS HAS
TWICE AS MUCH FUN!"
stuffing a homemade doll with wild kapok
|Helping to make toys for other children can be just as educational—and fun—as playing with them.|
Many of the most fun, most educational toys can be made from scrap materials by members of the family or community. Disabled children with good hands can learn skills and take pride in making toys for other disabled children. So it makes sense to make toys rather than to buy them.
The following pages show a number of toys that children will enjoy making in a children’s workshop. Or disabled children or their families can make them at home. We start with very simple toys for babies or children at an early developmental level. Gradually, the toys become more advanced. More skills will be needed by the children who make them, and by those who play with them.
- 1 TOYS TO ENCOURAGE LOOKING AND LISTENING
- 2 Toys that help develop use of hands and sense of touch
- 3 Rattles and other noise toys
- 4 Ideas for homemade music
- 5 Games fitting pegs or blocks into holes
- 6 Slide-on wire toys
- 7 Climbing bear
- 8 PUZZLES
TOYS TO ENCOURAGE LOOKING AND LISTENING
|small mirrors or pieces of tin foil||or shiny paper colorful objects that move in the air|
from UPKARAN manual.
Toys that help develop use of hands and sense of touch
You can make beads and chains out of wild fruits and nuts.
|For a baby, hang a ring of beads where she can reach and handle it.||A child can play putting the nuts and pods in and out of a container.||As the child develops more hand control, she can begin to make chains and necklaces by stringing beads on a cord.|
Later he can learn to sort them - first by seeing them, and then blindfolded.
|‘Snakes’ can be
made by stringing
nuts, 'caps' of
acorns, bottle caps,
small green mango
(or whatever you
can think of)
from papache bush
from wild bush)
If you use your imagination, there are all kinds of toy animals you and your children can have fun making.
Rattles and other noise toys
Find a small gourd (wild gourds or tree gourds may work).
Cut a round hole at the stem and clean out the seeds and flesh. Let it
dry out well.
Put 2 or 3 small rocks, nuts or other objects
Find a stick the size of the hole. If the hole is large, thin
down this part
of the stick.
Glue the stick
to the gourd.
To make it
fill in here,
and after the
Plastic bottle rattle
Tin can rattle
stick of wood
strips cut from plastic
bottles of different
stones, nuts, etc.
ring cut from a plastic
bottle, bamboo or
whatever you have
ring can be wrapped
with strips of cloth or
tire tubing for easier grip
|Trim rough edges.||Put in a cardboard or wood plug.||
|Then seal with a mix of sawdust and white glue, or plaster of Paris.|
surface and let
Ideas for homemade music
seeds in them
|2 wood sticks||tambourine||jingle bells||jingle bells|
|Use a small can or bottle with a small stone inside...
||...or use 2
|Cut a colorful
|Sew it into a square
and turn inside out.
|Place can or bells in cloth square and pack wild kapok, cotton or bits of sponge around it. Sew it shut.|
|Draw a doll on 2 pieces of cloth,
and cut them out.
|Sew the 2 dolls together.||
Leave a small opening.
|Turn the doll inside out.
bells or a
|Sew or draw on a face.
|can be made in
the same way.
|Cut 3 pieces of
|...and 3 pieces
|Sew them together|
except for a small hole.
Turn inside out and stuff.
Push-along noise toy
Make hole in lid and
bottom of tin.
Put bottle tops,
small stones, etc.
Put loop of stiff wire through holes
with knot inside tin.
Plastic bottle pig
|1 plastic bottle||4 corn cobs||cardboard or leather for ears (Make 2 cuts in the bottle to hold ears.)|
|Make 4 large holes and one small hole.|
|beans, rocks, nuts or bottle caps to put inside if you want it to rattle||hard curved acacia bean(or anything else for tail)|
Cover a balloon with papier-mâché.
strips of newspaper or packing paper
paste of flour and water
4 to 6 layers thick
Cut 6 lumps off a cardboard egg carton.
4 like this
2 like this
Fasten down lumps with papier-mâché.
Corks can be used instead of egg cartons.
With a few coins inside, the
pig can be used as a rattle.
Decorate with paint.
4 pieces of thick cardboard
cardboard tube (perhaps from old toilet roll)
Cover with papiermâché and attach ‘feet’ and ‘hands’.
When dry, cut out mouth and paint.
Note: For the pig and frog, you can use a large gourd instead of a balloon.
Games fitting pegs or blocks into holes
These games help develop better hand control and 'hand-eye coordination.' They also help the child learn to compare sizes, shapes, and color.
with sand (and lime if you
have it). Press pegs into
the wet plaster, and
Blocks for building a tower on pegs
by putting a
face on the
be cut from
a thin log.
tail made of broom, stick or rope
Cut rings from a thin log or bamboo.
leather or cloth ears
stick to fit
Slide-on wire toys
To help develop fine control of hand movement, blocks, beads or animal figures can be moved along a wire. Children with poor control need only move the figure from one side to the other. Children with good control try to move the figure without touching the wire. The more bends you put in the wire, the harder it is.
|To make it more interesting, match the animal figures with wooden bases in the form and colors of the place the animal lives: fish in water, squirrels in trees, birds in flowers.|
Gourd Racing Car
|The gourd baby is fun because it can be given drinks and then ‘go to the latrine’. Thus it can be a good tool for ‘toilet training’ children. See other ideas and dolls for toilet training.||
Now go poo poo in the potty.
Shapes on pegs*
Figures with posts for easy gripping*
With these, children learn
about matching colors,
shapes, and sizes.
made of wood,
clay, or layers
cubes and sticks
- These are from the UPKARAN Manual.
This wooden donkey or horse with a clothes-pin head is fun to make and to play with.
It can also be used as a note or reminder holder. Perhaps disabled children at the rehabilitation center can make this to sell for pocket money.
Trace the donkey onto a piece of wood about as thick as the clothes-pin (1 cm). Cut it out with a jig saw. Also make a base, as shown. Sand pieces smooth and glue together.
old plastic bottle
|Tie or glue cart together.|
Cut a pattern of the bear out of a wood board about 2 cm. (¾ inch) thick.
Hang a stick from the roof or a tree limb.
By pulling one cord and then the other, the bear will climb the ropes! Children love it!
Good for developing use of both hands together.
RUBBER BAND WIND-UP TOYS
|HOW WIND-UP POWER DRIVE WORKS|
|bamboo (or cardboard tube or corncob)||Cut loop diagonally for more length.|
|To help roller pull better (not slip), cover it with rubber tire tube or sandpaper.||old bicycle tire tube||Instead of a rubber band, you can cut a narrow loop of inner tube.|
Paddle wheel boat
Paddles from tongue depressors or pieces from an old plastic bucket, etc.
Notch the paddles and put them together like this.
Use it to help the child enjoy bathing, develop hand control and even speech.
|Use an old spool or corncob.|
Notch rim of spool to help it pull without slipping.
two small nails to hold rubber band
piece of soap
Wind up the completed toy and watch it crawl!.
For more fun, place a paper cone over the creeper, and decorate it to look like a person or animal.
Whirlygig screech plane
This simple noise toy can be made completely of waste material. The pin mounted at the front scrapes against the inside of the bottlecap—and the cups amplify the noise like the loud-speakers of a record player.
thin cardboard, folded and twisted, glued to stick
2 plastic cups glued together
plastic cup melted with hot wire to hold pin tight
cardboard or thin foam plastic scraps glued to the cups
Puzzles can help a child learn how shapes, forms, and colors fit together. Puzzles can be made by glueing a picture on cardboard, wood, plywood, or other material. Cut out the pieces with a coping saw. Puzzles can be made in various styles:
Children can first learn to form one flower.
Later, they can play ‘sorting games’ with flowers of different colors.
Several children can
play to see who can complete a flower first—using dice with different colored sides.
Puzzles with cut-out pieces that follow the forms and lines of the drawing
|First have the child build the main object (here, the owl) with a few pieces. Later, she can learn to fill in the background.|
|An outer frame helps hold the pieces together.||A mentally slow child in Indonesia learns to fit together a fish puzzle. (Photo: Christian Children’s Fund, Carolyn Watson)|
|Puzzles with interlocking pieces||Block puzzles|
|Suggestion: If you have a large photo of the child or a family member, glue it on cardboard and cut out the puzzle. Or use a picture from a magazine or calendar.||Glue 6 different pictures to the sides of a thick board or sheet of foam plastic, and cut it into blocks. You can also make blocks from cubes of clay or small match boxes.|
Ideas for the toys shown in this chapter are from many sources, including books. For books on toys and games, see Other Resources. Other toys are in sections:
Helping the Blind Child to Use His Hands and to Learn Skills
Early Play Activities and Toys
Ways to Make Toilet Training Easier
Range-of-Motion and Strengthening Exercises for the Hand and Wrist.