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Fun but simple creative toys that you and your children can make

Got the rainy day blues? Cabin fever? Stuck in a rut, or just looking for affordable outlets for your little ones, toddlers, and maybe your older siblings? Would you like some ideas for producing unique and affordable toys and entertainment for your offspring? Ideas for new, different, and creative toys can come from virtually every corner of the house. You may just need a healthy “how to” boost in the right direction. Try these ideas for recycling common household items to get started.

soda bottle trucks

As the rain pounded the black sands of the Pacific coast fishing village where I was vacationing, I noticed that the downpour never stopped the kids. What I also noticed were his cleverly crafted toy trucks made out of water or soda bottles. Each boy ran through rivers of water pulling a truckload of sand. Turning the plastic bottle into a truck was childishly simple. Four bottle caps served as wheels. Two shafts were formed from two three and a half inch long pieces of hanger wire. The wires were routed up the sides of the bottle and through a plastic bottle cap on each side. The ends of the wire were bent to hold the wheels on the bottle caps. A portion of the other side of the bottle was cut away to create a loading bay. The rope was tied around the neck of the bottle. Load up the cargo bay with sand, rocks, marbles, small figures, screws, nuts and bolts, you name it, and the truck was ready to go.

Shake the rattle and roll

Empty metal, cardboard, or plastic containers make great noise-making toys for little ones. Round cereal, powder or dry containers, granules, and some liquid products work well, especially if they have resealable lids. You can partially fill them with gravel, marbles, clean sand, seeds, dried beans, rice, etc. to create different sound effects. Be sure to super glue or permanently seal the assembly to prevent curious young children from opening and swallowing the contents. They are also washable so they can be easily washed or cleaned. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can think of.

Flying high

An all-time favorite toy for children and adults alike, kites have been around for over 4,000 years since their invention in China. Originally made of paper and bamboo, kite-making materials now run the gamut from the original paper and bamboo to nylon, cloth, plastics, and even sheet metal. Not strictly for kids, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite into scientific history. The Greek scientist of the V century BC. C. Arquitas de Tarento is credited with the introduction of kite flying in Europe. Here are some go-to websites to get you up, up and away:

• Have you ever wanted to build a kite? Well here is a simple kite that you can make yourself!

• How to make a kite. While kites are cheap to buy, making one adds to the fun. You’ll be especially proud when your diamond-shaped creation takes to the air.

• These are the complete, tested instructions for kids to make their own kites and fly them in 20 minutes.

• These are simpler kite plans to help you and your kids get started.

• Kites are fun for young and old alike. You can build your own kite or help your kids build one by reading this article!

airport hub

It’s not much of a jump from kites to airplanes. Inexpensive and easy to produce, flyable airplanes can be made from paper, plastic, or balsa wood, available at hobby stores, building and craft stores, and hardware stores. Like kites, they are intriguing, a lot of fun, and easy to make. Flying them can be a bit trickier, but who cares? Time flies when you’re having fun! Try these websites for a quick takeoff:

• [] This page lists some of the best websites on how to make and fly paper airplanes.

• Ken Blackburn, website for sharing what you know about paper airplanes. He holds the Guinness record for time in the air for paper airplanes.

• The amazing thing about a paper airplane is that all you need to make one is

a sheet of paper, nothing more.

• Alex’s Paper Airplanes

Cobra Paper Airplane The Planes – This is an index listing all the paper airplanes

currently on the site ranked for how easy it is to make

Here are some ideas for producing unique and inexpensive toys and entertainment for your little ones, toddlers, and their older siblings. Ideas for new, different, and modified versions of your creations will flow from virtually every corner of the house. Who knows, you might even develop something sellable. Toy conglomerates are always looking for the next hot item.

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