Made to PlayTitle: Made to Play

Author: Joel Henriques

Publisher: Shambhala

Release Date: 10/11/2011

We’ve already talked about how I’m not one of those moms who can create awesome crafts out of random household objects without a ton of assistance, and even with loads of help and super-easy directions, they still come out looking like something from a Tim Burton film. Yet I persevere in my attempts to rule the crafting universe, to whittle wood into marching soldiers, to build skyscrapers out of toothpicks, to…wait, I’m thinking of Navy Seabees here… I just want to make something that doesn’t fall apart in five minutes or look like it once resided in my cat’s stomach. So I approach crafting like I do everything else in my life-I read a ton of books on the subject and hope that some of that knowledge transfers into actual manual dexterity and some semblance of decent hand-eye coordination. It never does, yet I still keep reading away.

I recently read Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations through Netgalley because I like the idea of making clean, simple, old-fashioned toys like finger puppets and a dollhouse (I’ve always wanted a fancy dollhouse, so that would be more for me than Jake). Needless to say, it’s not going to happen with the dollhouse, although I think someone with some crafting ability would definitely be able to complete it based on the direction.The book contains about 35 different toy projects, from an abstract vertical puzzles to portable zoo animals. Each project starts with a description and a little personal note from the author along with a picture of the finished design, followed by step-by-step instructions on how to make them. The projects use regular items and scraps typically found throughout the home and yard (the dollhouse furniture uses twigs). Some of the crafts, like the paper animals, are super easy (rule of thumb- if I say it’s easy, it means that your dog could most likely complete it without so much as a paper-cut) while others, like the embroidery doll require a little more talent. The book provides templates for most of the crafts, so all you have to do is copy them, print them, and use them, and every project is highly customizable so you can make it exactly how you want it.

If you have some crafting talent and want to make cute toys with your children, I definitely recommend checking out this Made to Play when it releases on October 11th.  If you’re like me and can’t even thread a needle without practically bringing on the apocalypse, I still recommend it for some of the easier crafts, as there are enough of those to make it worth while.