My perfectly happy childhood seems to lack many recollections of toys. I remember my stuffed frog (Froggy), my miniature kitchen set, and a doll name Skipper (I think she was supposed to be Barbie’s little sister). Other than these three things, I don’t think I owned anything that was bought from a toy store. Instead I played with normal objects morphed into toys by my childish imagination. I never felt deprived or bored and from what I recall, it was all fun times.
Being a kid these days is so much different and it all starts even before they are born. I remember walking into a baby store while pregnant with Asha and I have never felt so overwhelmed in my life. Truly, can an itsy bitsy baby that can’t do anything really need so much stuff! The feeling has only multiplied over the months and years as Asha now recognizes TV and the toy ads. There is so much junk made for kids these days. Just the other day I saw an ad for a plastic colorful baby chair which was being marketed as something that will develop your kids curiosity and keep their attention for hours. Dear God, really! It’s a freaking chair, just crappier, useless and more expensive.
I am fighting the system y’all. And honestly the stuff I’ve made for Asha out of cardboard and boxes has been fun for me too. It’s given me a chance to get my paint brush out and spend some time being creative. And yes, it saves money too.
Here are some blocks I made from empty boxes that were left around from olive oil bottles, cell phones, etc. This low cost transformation required some paint (I chose the color black and white), brush, and glue or mod podge to make the blocks more resilient to play. After accounting for drying time between coats, I spent about 45 minutes from start to finish. Not too shabby at all.
So give this project a try, and if you have a kid who is old enough to mess around with paint, put them to work too. Perhaps they will be more inclined to take care of and play with a toy they helped create.