Toys – stilts, tents, french knitting, gonks

Isn’t it funny what we remember from our childhood?

Take toys for example. We had hours of fun from a very simple toy that looked like a table tennis bat with four wooden hens that pecked the bat as you rocked it up and down. Remember Chopper bikes? Space hoppers? ‘Spring shoes’? (Boing, boing).

The time you spend with your children is time well spent. But instead of taking them shopping for toys this weekend, why not make them something yourself – perhaps something that your parents or grandparents used to make for you? Here are some suggestions?

Stilts: we had hours of fun walking around on ‘stilts’ that mum made from a couple of empty Tate and Lyle syrup tins with long string hoops to hold onto (threaded through two holes at the top of each tin). When we outgrew these, dad made us ‘grown up stilts’ by taking two thick wooden batons and nailing a wood wedge (foot platform) about two foot up each one.

Tents: just a sheet draped over the clothes horse.

A go kart: from old pram wheels, a strong plank and a wooden orange box.
French knitting: thread wool around four tacks at the top of a wooden bobbin, get French knitting and watch a long woolly sausage emerge from the cotton reel’s hole.
Gonks: we made these at school out of old toilet rolls, and bits of material – I made a Scottish McGonk with a kilt and big furry eyebrows.

The beauty of making toys like these is that, instead of leaving the children to play alone, you’ll be showing an interest and playing with them. Just one thing though … let the kids have a go too.

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