Friday, August 3, 2007
The best wooden toy for me was a thing called a Jacob’s Ladder, little flat blocks of wood wrapped in ribbons that clickety-clacked up and down if you manipulated it right. For my brother his favorite wasn’t made out of wood, but tissue and packing tape - a set of bolo balls that my parents bought in Hawaii. He’d twirl those suckers for hours, usually somewhere near me if we’d just argued. Ouch, those suckers could pack a wallop. An argument for homemade toys is that they’re non-violent, ironic given my experience, but if you see the merits of fine workmanship and the boost in creativity that these toys can elicit give this business a whirl. Patterns can be found on the web, in craft shops, in books in the public library. There are old standbys that always sell well: doll beds, pull toys, yo-yos, animals, jigsaw puzzles, and those neat little, tilting mazes where you try to get the ball through to the end without dropping through holes on the way, or those cool, table top, wooden roller coasters that have a ball roll along, causing little doors to flap open and whirligigs to move.