“Toymaker Mom,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, 56
Small children can be just as happy with inexpensive, homemade toys as they are with expensive, elaborate ones, and the money saved by making playthings from common household items can be used to buy a tricycle, bicycle, or some other more costly item.
A small, sturdy box makes a fine boat to float around in the bathtub, and can even hold small treasures or a cake of soap.
Log houses and fences can be made from clothespins.
Materials for making dolls are plentiful. A clothespin doll can be fashioned by drawing a face on the head of a pin and wrapping a piece of bright cloth around the neck. The old familiar stocking doll is a white sock stuffed with rags with a face painted on, and even a paper bag stuffed with scraps and tied can substitute as a doll for a very small child.
A five-cornered doll may be made from two pieces of cloth that are cut in the shape of a star with pinking shears. Sew the pieces together on the right side of the material about one-fourth inch from the pinked edge, leaving an opening through which to stuff the doll with stuffing, cotton, or scraps cut from old nylon stockings. Close the opening, embroider on the eyes, nose, and mouth, and attach small bells to each of the points of the star, if you wish.
Paper dolls may be made by pasting figures from the fashion pages of magazines onto cardboard, and then trimming around the edges. Clothes for these dolls may be made from tissue or crepe paper.
Paste a large colored picture from a magazine on a piece of cardboard, and then cut the picture into four or five obvious pieces for a simple puzzle.
Sewing cards may be made by pasting pictures on cardboard, and then outlining the pictures with holes punched with an embroidery stiletto or a paper punch. A youngster could sew bright-colored yarn through the holes without using a needle. Twist one end of a long piece of yarn to a point and dip the point in a bottle of clear nail polish and let it dry. The point stiffens and can be used in place of a needle.
A large empty carton from the grocery store may be painted and used as a toy box, and a child can be taught to put his playthings in the box when playtime is over.
A pinwheel or windmill might be made from a square of colorful paper—perhaps the cover of a magazine—cut and folded as shown in the illustration, with a thumbtack holding the four turned-in corners in the center. With this thumbtack, the pinwheel may be attached to a smooth stick loosely enough so that when the child runs holding the stick out in front of him the pinwheel will revolve.—Leigh Haydon, Seattle, Washington.