Imaginative and Frugal Toys

When my 4 children were small, we did not have much money and had to use our imaginations a lot. (a good thing :) The one "toy" my daughter remembers more than any other is when we made a house for her Barbie out of a cardboard box. We used various recyclables for furniture, covered with fabric, etc. But the best part was going through magazines and cutting out food, and beauty products that we would cover with clear contact paper from the dollar store.


What a blast we had.

I recently babysat for a 2 year old and we went to the Disney website, where you can print out each of the Disney princesses for free. I then covered them in clear contact paper and now she has little princess dolls!

By Carol from Landisville, PA

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April 17, 20080 found this helpful

Thank You! Those are great ideas! It might be fun to add magnets to those cutouts & make magnetic paper-doll dresses for them too!... You know, these days, I think kids don't use their imagination as much as the generations that watched little or no TV & had no computers, DVD's, or video games.... I had an old boyfriend (he graduated in 1966, so that should give you a glimpse at his age) anyway he grew up on a farm in the smallest town in WA & had, basically NO (or VERY few) toys... He said that he & his brother would use sticks for trucks & rocks for cars & make highways outside in the dirt... This is a true story, his parents were farmers & they lived from bank-loan to harvest, to bank-loan... He said he never minded not having many toys, it made him use his imagination. And he grew up to be a fine caring, man with many attributes...


I also remember my grandmother sitting down with me as a child (in the early 1960's) with only a pair of scissors & a stack of old newspaper... We'd spend countless hours folding the newspaper into accordion-like sheets & cutting out "paper dolls" all in a row... I remember the amazement I felt when she unfolded them & they came out all holding hands! ...Of course, me being the "artist", I'd spend even more time coloring each one of them... Simple tools, free newspaper, & hours of fun!

It's to bad kids these days grow up so fast & are exposed to so many things via MTV & other media. Parents, look to the past & turn your TV's off for most of the night & encourage your kids to read books... I used to pay my kids a penny a page to read & limited them to a maximum of 5 hours per weeks TV time, & believe me, they REALLY thought out, before hand what they wanted to watch & we purposely never had cable... just 5 TV stations to choose from...

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April 18, 20080 found this helpful

The post and the feedback brought back so many memories for me. During the 1940s my older sister made a doll house for me (no Barbies in those days). She used a TP box from the grocery store. No super markets either. I can also remember my daddy cutting out those little dolls from folded newspaper. I did it for all my kids and now with my granddaughter. She has kept them and they are still in one of her toy boxes.


One of my older boys (now 50) asked me one day after his older brother went off to school if I could make a string of dogs instead of boys or girls. We sat down and proceded to fill the living room with cut up newspaper. This had to be the day one of my sisters brought a friend by to meet me. I'm sitting there up to my waist in paper. I was never so embarrassed in my life! I never did get those dogs made.... still haven't figured it out.

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