My little ones have lots of toys, but what really gets their engine runnin' is good old fashioned cardboard, glue, tape, and rubberband kinds of concoctions. Mr. Darcy calls this "arts and crap". This week it was bats drawn on cardboard with black magic marker. I watched with mild amusement while all the other thousands of dollars in toys went completely ignored so they could focus on the paper bat family. The bats live in the window, fly around and have campfire adventures in the closets. They hunt for food in my pantry and sleep upside down on the furniture with the lights off of course. I have been instructed that these are not the blood sucking bats, but instead nice, friendly, fruit bats. Bat books from the closet have been retrieved and re-read to the cardboard bats mind you. Stellaluna is a lovely book in case your darlin's like bats too. I remember when my first darlin' was a baby and we used washed-out detergent bottles, juice jugs, and throw-away plastics to entertain for hours before we got all the toys... The kitchen floor was often littered with these "treasures" and I loved watching my first darlin' make his own play from nothing. He knew the sound of the one tile in our kitchen that was hollow underneath from tapping things on top. Toys are overrated these days if you ask me. I know it sounds old fashioned but toys on the shelf now have one way of play, one result over and over again, and it doesn't take kids long to master and toss it aside. We use blocks, train sets, kitchen play, books and the like but even these multiple outcome toys eventually get boring. What really goes the distance is junk and dirt. Things that they can turn into something. I've seen the darlin's create robots, rockets, and cardboard houses from utter scraps of trash. I am always amazed at the raw imagination of a child. They call the door hinges "butterflies" and they make boats of leaves and grass. Sticks in the yard become magic wands and swords for "fencing". One of my children can turn two sticks into four different things in under a minute. Don't get me started on what they do with rocks and where they stick them to sneak them into the house for these covert creative projects. When I can nurture this third eye of creativity I certainly do, but isn't it hard with all the competing blinking lights and too-loud sounds of today's obnoxious toys? We have lots of these "lovely" things in our house too, just like many of you, but late at night the battery fairy visits these toys and completes a batterectomy. Of course, the next morning mama is magically out of batteries and can't seem to find any more at the store to replace them. Oh well. I guess the darlin's will just have to get outside and grab some rocks and sticks. I just hope they don't aim them at the window!
Free paper toy templates online: http://www.thetoymaker.com/2Toys.html Enjoy!