After the sixth or seventh time my daughter turned to me and said ‘We gotta get that!’ while watching cartoons this morning I had enough and suggested we head to the play kitchen. Spending the next hour or so playing with her large collection of felt food I realized what a respite homemade toys really are. In a world dominated by advertising where children are viewed as simple marketing opportunities, handmade toys don’t ask you to collect the whole set or sing along to their jazzy theme songs, all they ask is that you use some imagination and leave the batteries behind.
I feel comforted in knowing that my grandchildren will not have to ask “what’s that?” when they play with the wool felt carrots I have created as they will with the Teletubbies, Sponge Bobs, and Dora the Explorers. Don’t get me wrong these toys have their place but not every toy needs to have a logo or Television programs’ name slapped on its side.
In a world of mass machine production where our childrens’ toys are made thousands of miles away in foreign countries by unknown people under unknown conditions with unknown materials there is something wonderful about a handmade toy. A link to the past and a promise for the future. Well make playthings with lasting value that transcend fads and corporate marketing schemes.
Handmade toys have a unique character and story that can’t be said of mass-produced hunks of plastic. Each detail is a choice lovingly made, each stitch an act of love. I can’t promise that my daughter will treasure or even keep her handmade toys forever but I can be certain that looking at pictures of her childhood she will have a story to tell about the toys her mama made her.
These toys don’t come with stories they create them, they quietly sit back and let your child be the star of playtime, they don’t suggest you memorize all their names, instead they become part of lifelong memories.
I just thought I would share a little of my rumination with you in hopes that you all feel the same.
Lets hear it for handmade!