Why Make Toys?

I love to make toys. This has always been my favorite use for craft. There are several reasons that I enjoy this.

1) It’s fun. Making toys is like playing with toys for grown ups. You use imagination both in thinking of how to make them and what can be done with them when someone is actually playing with them.

2) Toys aren’t exactly serious art and so don’t they have to be perfect. There is lots of opportunity for experimentation.

3) Kids around you are interested when you make a toy, especially if it is for them. Maybe they can participate in some way, perhaps doing some of the stuffing or painting. Discuss the project with them. Tell them what you are doing, why you chose the project, what ideas about it came to you, what design decisions you made, etc. Let them see the creative process at work. Maybe they will be interested enough to make their own projects.

4) Often the cost of toy making can be very low, or nothing. This is especially true if you use recycled materials and library books.

5) There is likely to be less environmental waste with a handmade toy than with a mass produced one. No packaging, no shipping cost, and the materials can be much more eco-friendly. Most toys are primarily made of plastic.  A cloth doll is more biodegradable than a plastic doll.

6) Something hand made is special. One of the projects I have in the pipeline is an angel doll costume  inspired by the children’s book “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.” I love this story about a little girl whose father is away in World War I. Her mother makes her a doll for Christmas and at the end of the story, we learn that the doll adorns the family Christmas tree every year for decades to come. Of course, few toys are so treasured, but a beautiful hand made piece can inspire this kind of love because it has some love already in it.

We could compile a much longer list about why not to make toys, but that’s not the point. Happy crafting.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree

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