Related News

Home » Feature » Education

Children love playing with DIY toys

DO-IT-YOURSELF toys are a great alternative to the often expensive, store-bought toys. These DIY toys can entertain children for as long, or even longer in some cases, as those bought in stores or markets.

Making do-it-yourself toys for children has long been a tradition in China. Many middle-aged Shanghai people today still remember various longtang (lane) games they created by themselves when they were young. But this practice is fading as few young parents today are willing to invent games for kids, instead choosing to rely on video games and computers to keep their child occupied.

Empty cartons, milk boxes, straw mats, sauce pots, toothpaste boxes and other items can be made into a perfect toy for children, as long as you have a creative design, according to Chen Lei, principle of the China Welfare Institute Nursery.

Though many experts applaud the DIY practice as environmentally friendly, the tradition started out of necessity - families in the old days were poorer so it was easier to just make up games.

Karen Li, a 33-year-old in public relations, remembers her father making her toy ducks with wood and her mother making her a toy mouse with a handkerchief when she was little, but she never makes toys for her three-year-old daughter.

"There are so many fun toys at markets, I just don't think it's necessary to make shabby ones myself," says Li.

From Barbie dolls and Transformers to toy guns and baking sets, parents can spend an eternity looking for the perfect toys for their children, but kids, especially younger ones, may prefer simple ones that don't cost so much, Chen says.

"Many parents don't know how to play with their kids," Chen says. "They may only know how to play computer games. All they can think about is buying expensive toys. But high prices don't always mean these toys are the best."

While it's true that expensive toys are well made and fun, many are not ideal for learning as they usually operate in fixed ways, Chen says.

"Kids learn fast in scenes with plot," says Yang Weirong, a teacher at the nursery. "Creating a plot for them to act out is much more effective than simply having them repeat boring words and movements."

Cardboard boxes are Yang's favorite material for creating independent scenes. Boxes can easily be turned into a maze, a vehicle, a house or castle and animals. Kids can paint their own house, send their animals to a hospital and search for a way out of a maze. Children can improve several skills all at the same time with these types of toys.

The beauty of DIY toys is that they can also be improved with a little imagination. In the example above, the children can think of other foods suitable for the animals and make more balls with new labels.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend