If I Give You 10 Reasons, Your Kid Will Give You a Hundred
Toys are bloody cheap nowadays. Especially the lower quality ones. Especially the plastic ones. Especially the Chinese ones :-) Who cares about quality? You can buy a toy that your kid will adore for the price of a good coffee. Then why would you ever think or want to make toys yourself?
Maybe because you care about the quality. Maybe for some other of these 10 great reasons:
Even such ones you can make yourself!
Photo by mrtruffle
10. It's Fun!
Making toys quickly teleports you back in your childhood. And what's more fun than that? It's a great way to recall your best memories, feel a kid again and spend few careless hours. Of course if you approach this as adult and look at it like work that you must do in X minutes and make Y dollars, it's not going to be fun.
If you try to calculate the cost of the time spend and compare it to the price of the same toy it probably won't be fun either. It's something that you do for the sake of doing it and for having fun and relax, not for some material benefits.
9. It's a Learning Experience
What could an adult learn from whittling a wooden dwarf? Ha! Nothing useful of course!
Are you sure? Learning how to whittle wood is probably not going to help your career except if you are a wood-carver. But such activities help us, the modern people, recover some skills that have been lost in the current attention-deficit digital era. Such skills are staying focused, avoiding distractions and training your patience. Sure, there are other methods to train your patience, but this one is fun (see reason 10 above).
8. You May Even Save Money
If you hands are full with work, you will most likely not. But if you have free time, why not make few nice toys for your kids instead of watching TV? Not only you'll spend your time nicely but you'll also save few bucks for buying such toys from the store. And your kids will like these toys more than the toys you would buy. Isn't this a win-win-win situation? (I know I sound like an internet marketer here, but it really is).
7. Handmade Toys Teach Kids To Value Stuff
Kids don't fully understand the concept that money represents value. And even if they are old enough to understand it, most toys don't cost much. Do you really expect them to value a toy that costs less than a cinema ticket? The things become very different if you make the toys yourself and they watch you or even participate in the process. Doing this children can see that it
really takes time and effort
to make a good toy. I bet if you spend together hours or even days making their new model train they aren't going to throw it away on the very next day! Most likely they'll keep them for years. And the more they value toys, the more they will learn to value other stuff around them, and be more frugal and reasonable.
6. You Can Make Better Toys
Most toys nowadays are made in huge factories that produce hundreds of toys per minute. To keep the costs low they automate everything,
use low quality materials (mostly plastic)
and recycle well known and not so creative designs. When you make a toy carefully and put your love and passion inside it's not hard to achieve something much better. A handmade wooden toy looks much better and can live much longer than a cheap RC toy. Even if you don't have skillful hands you can make simple cam toys, plush animals or wooden toys with far better quality than those factory robots do.
5. Handmade Toys Are Eco-Friendly and Safe
The factory toys are usually made of plastic which itself is made of petrol. Petrol is scarce and toxic. The plastic toy, if thrown away in the garden will remain there for hundreds of years soiling the ground. Handmade toys are far more eco-friendly: they are usually made of wood, tin, cloth or paper. More often than not toys you make yourself will recycle stuff that you no longer use so even if made of plastic, they are more ecological than the ready ones. Wood and paper are natural materials so they are much better for kids health. With very few exceptions handmade toys are eco-friendlier and safer than the ones you buy.
4. You Can Make Those Loved Retro Toys From Your Childhood
This site is about old fashioned retro toys (if by any chance you have not noticed). We love them, and since you are here, you are likely to love them too. The problem with good old retro and mechanical toys is that they are hard to find. But making yourself you can do anything if you have the skills. You can make those lovely wooden soldiers or even tin robots and wind-up cars. Sure some of these toys require higher level of skills, but if you put the effort you can surely achieve something. Besides that there are enough simple old fashioned toys that you can surely make.
3. Make Exactly What Your Kids Want
In addition to what you want, you can try to make exactly what your kids want. I would even advice you to do so - if you are really making the toys for them. Sometimes it's hard to find the kind of toy they want and what's worse sometimes kids really know what they want! For example what are you going to do if your child wants a cute frog which really looks like a frog? Believe me, I checked for frogs all the local stores around us and they were all so bloody boring ugly! (The frogs, not the stores. The stores were fine). It looks like if I want a frog, I will need to make it myself.
2. You Can Get The Kids Involved
That's right and that's the best reason to make toys yourself! It's on second place because reason number 1 comes out of this one. Rather than making the toy yourself and then surprising the kids, I'd recommend you invite them in the process. If they are too young or the toy you are making is too complex, let them just watch. For simple toys it will be better if you actually get the kid involved - it's more fun and leads to reason number one.
1. Making Toys Develops Children Creativity
Making toys with your children is an excellent way to teach them creativity, specific skills, patience, curiosity, attention to the detail, ability to value the beauty. It's far more exciting for them than school and, in many cases, far more useful. You are the teacher, you are the authority, the one that spreads their love to them. Making toys together with your kids is one of the best things you can do for them, period.
Have you made any toys with or at least for your kids? What are they?