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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review - Made to Play by Joel Henriques

Made by Joel  is one of my favorite style and d.i.y. blogs. So naturally, I had high expectations for his book of toys for kids. Made to Play met those expectations easily.

The projects are easy to make and are simple and elegant, giving lots of room for imagination to play. They are also inexpensive and many of them creatively re-use scraps of wood, fabric and buttons.

Most of the projects are meant for kids who are beyond the stage of putting everything in their mouths, but some can be used for babies. The embroidered soft instruments for example or the embroidery pillow doll done in one color sketch style on a contrasting background.

For kids that are a bit older, very simple doll houses invite creative thought. They are meant to be played with, not just to be pretty. Wire dolls, modern furniture, and decorations that can be a wonderful rock found while out adventuring or a twig turned into a pretty potted tree. Even at my age, I want to make myself at least a room box!

Lots of paper toys, many of them that can be packed flat to bring to restaurants and other places you may want something quiet for children to play with. My daughter loved the slotted discs that I linked to yesterday. Those impressed me, but my favorite paper project in the book is the wall hanging sculptures. Using children's art along with wire to make displays. A fish dangles from a wire wave, a bird perches on a wire branch turning children's art into something very stylish and special.

Percussion instruments made from scrap wood encourage children to make noise and move. I love the bottle cap tambourine.

The wood toys require very simple tools for the most part. While power saws are handy, you could make a lot of them using coping saws. You will also need a wood burning kit for some of them.

Paper projects, you'll need glue, markers and scissors.

Sewing projects require hand needles, floss, and a sewing machine for strong seams. They don't need any specialized sewing skills. The style of them makes them perfect for crewel/wool type embroidery in my opinion.

For wire projects, you'll need pliers and wire cutters. He uses easy to manipulate wire from hardware stores.

This is play things at their best. Encouraging creative thought and interactivity.

The instructions are well written and the projects are inexpensive to make and just charming.

You can get this book directly from the publisher, Shambhala Publishing You can get more information about my review policy here.

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