Linky Mark: Toys
Sunday, November 25, 2007
For an explanation of Linky Mark, go here. These are a collection of links from my bookmarks folder - I'm putting them in a post and so can you! Now, this version - TOYS - is held over from last week thanks to AT&T's incompetence. Look for Advent ideas, celebrating the liturgical year, and keeping Christ in Christmas next week (Dec. 1-2) and Christmas helps, secular tips, recipes, etc. the week after (Dec. 8-9)!

Write a post containing your favorite links about toys, and join the fun with Mr. Linky!

First, let me say that many of our toys are eco-friendly. That is, recycled. From garage sales.
I got a great haul last week, including a cozy coupe car (Little Tikes) for $2 and a baby bike (Little Tikes) for $1; a K'Nex (made in the U.S.!) complete rollercoaster building set for my big boys for $10, a nightstand to make into a play kitchen for $7 (solid wood with two shelves). I also got a solid wood baby doll cradle for $1 that I need to clean and paint.

Mama even found something she's been coveting for two years - a real OXO salad spinner for $2, and I got them to throw in two saucepans for the little girl's kitchen for free! I've been using a salad spinner from W*Mart that you have to handcrank, but we eat a lot of greens so I'm quite pleased!

Onto to the links!

I did email Hasbro - LiteBrite and Tinkertoys are made in China.

Little Tikes are US made (generally, but always check)
Lego, Bionicle, and Duplo are not! YAY!
The K'Nex sets I've seen also are made in the US.

Back to Basics toys
has a category sort for toys made in North America and Europe

NMC Toys stands for Not Made inChina.

Toys Made In America has tons of links.

Sticker shock? Amazing how much using non-toxic materials adds to the price of a toy!

If you don't want to go the thrift store route, here are some toys to make:

List of links, especially science toys

No brainers
Old fashioned country livin' toys to make, including braided dolls, felt boards, and a "Whimmy diddle".

Paper toys to print and make, good for stocking stuffers.

Canon has some awesome papercraft activities, including a 3-dimensional orangutan! I'd print off the patterns and give as a gift, letting the kids put them together.

Need a little skill
Make a bamboo flute

Make a hacky sack (or stress ball) - crochet (I'm planning to try this for my boys)

Lots of patterns
and instructions for sewing, knit, or crochet toys, including Hello Kitty doll, teddy bears, balls, and more. Scroll down a bit to find the toy section.

Grabby ball for a baby, from that same site.

Educational toys to make from household objects (young children)

I'm going to make a clothespin drop for Baby C - paint doll clothespins different colors. Get a plastic container (I'm going to use a Folger's canister) paint wide stripes of corresponding colors along the rim. She can match the colors, drop into the canister, or just play house with them.

I can't find any play food that is not Chinese and/or painted wood from third world countries, so I am going to make some felt fruit and veggies for her. Miss V (age 3) and Miss C (age 2) LOVE to play "tea party" and spend hours cooking, serving, and moving their party around the house (hence the DIY play kitchen I mentioned). And I'm totally going to use glue, because we're still working on the seamstress portion of my Supermom resume. I did buy an espresso set at Goodwill for $1.49 with four little cups and saucers as well. They are just the right size for little hands.

I'm also going to try to make my own moonsand. Okay, not the seen on TV stuff, that is supposedly is a nasty mess. This is more like sand playdough. I'm going to 'test' it first with the kids, as we are learning about Ancient Egypt and maybe we'll use it to make a Sphinx. If it's a hit, then I'll make up a batch for the kid's stockings.

Here's the recipe I'm planning to try:
1 c. cornstartch, 2 c. playsand, 1 1/2 c. water. Mix it in a pot, cook on medium high for 5-10 minutes until thickened. Let cool (duh) and play!

or you could try Meredith's Pumpkin Pie Playdough for an old fashioned DIY Christmas gift. How cute would it be packaged in little tart tins (or, let's get real here, recycled pot pie tins).

I'm kicking around the idea of these make-at-home science toys - putting them together in a kit form for the boys to make. How cool would it be for a boy to make a magnetic linear accelerator? Maybe I just read too much sci-fi.

Mechanical toys to make. Oh, those physics lessons are sneaky! Although I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to make my boys rubberband guns. That would be taking my own life in my hands, I'm sure - not to mention the backyard squirrels might unionize and extract revenge. I'd constantly be looking over my shoulder for flying nuts.

My kids are weird and they'll play with this kind of stuff for a long time.

How have the toy recalls affected your Christmas? Have you found a great source for American made toys, or are you making your own? More importantly, does anyone have a free pattern for a flip doll? (I don't know if that's the technical name. They are dolls that have skirts, and you flip it over and it is a different doll. Like this.)

Leave your link!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/25/2007 10:18:00 AM | Permalink | |