Hesperian Health Guides

Appendix B: Toys You Can Make

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Appendix B: Toys You Can Make

Toys that help develop use of hands and sense of touch

You can make beads and chains out of wild fruits and nuts.

prickly rough and
fuzzy wrinkled or
smooth wriggly
a prickly fruit.
an acorn.
a fuzzy fruit.
a lumpy fruit.
a smooth fruit.
a twisty seed pod.
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.
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Later he can
learn to sort them.
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‘Snakes’ can be made by stringing nuts, 'caps' of acorns, bottle caps, or any combination of things.
a snake made of bottle caps with a mango for the head.
small green mango (or whatever you can think of)
bottle caps
beans for ‘rattle’ of rattlesnake

2 kinds of toy hedgehog, with sticks or cloves for feet.
knobby sticks from papache bush
papache (woody fruits from wild bush)
guasima fruit

Rattles and other noise toys

Gourd rattle
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 inside. 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 stronger and better looking, mix white glue and sawdust, fill in here, and after the glue dries, sand it smooth.
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Glue here
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Plastic bottle rattle Bamboo rattle Tin can rattle
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a see-through plastic bottle
stick of wood
strips cut from plastic bottles of different colors, colorful 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
a rattle made from a section of bamboo, with either a cork in the end or a bamboo handle.
cork or plug
a tin can with a handle.

Cowhorn rattle

Trim rough edges.
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Put in a cardboard or wood plug.
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small rocks
Then seal with a mix of sawdust and white glue, or plaster of Paris.
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Smooth the surface and let it dry.

Ideas for homemade music

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can lids
gourds with
seeds in them
2 wood sticks tambourine jingle bells jingle bells
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loose hardwood plates
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Soft rattle

Use a small can or bottle with a small stone inside... ...or use 2 small bells. Cut a colorful soft cloth (flannel) into this shape. 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.
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a cloth shape that can be folded into a cube.
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wild kapok

Doll rattle

Draw a doll on 2 pieces of cloth, and cut them out.
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Leave a small opening.
Sew the 2 dolls together.
Turn the doll inside out.
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Put small bells or a rattle inside and stuff with kapok, cotton or sponge and sew shut. Sew or draw on a face.
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Animal rattles Ball rattle
can be made in
the same way.
Cut 3 pieces of
one color...
...and 3 pieces
of another
Sew them together
except for a small hole.
Turn inside out and stuff.
rattles in the shape of a rabbit and a turtle.
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an oval shape pointed at each end.
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Push-along noise toy Bamboo push-along
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Make hole in lid and bottom of tin.
Put bottle tops, small stones, etc. inside.
Put loop of stiff wire through holes with knot inside tin.
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a section of bamboo, showing where to cut near each node before filling and then making a handle for it.
Cut here

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.

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Drill holes in a piece of wood and cut pegs from tree branches.
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Or make a 'size box' by pouring cement, plaster of Paris, or clay into a mold. Or, make a 'plaster' box out of cow-dung or mud mixed with sand (and lime if you have it). Press pegs into the wet plaster, and remove when
almost dry.
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Or you can cut holes in a cardboard box. Glue an extra layer of tough cardboard on the top.
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For pegs, use bottles, scraps of pipe, pieces of broom handles, bolts — or whatever you have.
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Also, make games that help the child develop a twisting motion in her hands and wrists.
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Other ideas

Blocks for building a tower on pegs Shapes on pegs
blocks with holes in them stacked on tall pegs.
Make it more fun by putting a face on the top block.
Blocks can be cut from a thin log.
Paint them bright colors.
With these, children learn about matching colors, shapes, and sizes.
3 pegs on a board and cardboard shapes with holes in the center.
Gourd Racing Car
Building blocks
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beans as decoration
pull string
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made of wood, clay, or layers of cardboard.