Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why Buy Toys When You Can Make Them?

Christmas is really an odd tradition, when you think about it objectively. We spend hundreds of dollars on gifts for people, some of which we hardly know! Parents storm toy stores and malls at 4 or 5 in the morning, fighting each other for that one toy which will brighten their children's eyes Christmas morning. We all strive to buy the gift that ensures others we care about them enough to buy them something great.

However, perhaps the greatest gift we can give is the care we take to ensure we get something our loved ones will like. When you think about it that way, Christmas isn't about the money at all. It is about the time spent just to let someone know we care about them.

So then why should you have to buy anything at all? I will let you in on a little secret: you don't! In Carla Emery's book The Encyclopedia of Country Living, she lays out some instructions to create toys and crafts of your own for this Christmas season! Don't go out in the cold weather in search of that perfect toy. Just try some of these homemade concoctions, and let the caring show through your creativity!

Great Bubbles Recipe 1: Combine 6 c. water, 2 c. liquid dishwashing soap, and 3⁄4 c. light corn syrup. Start blowing! Recipe 2: Combine 1⁄3 c. baby shampoo, 11⁄4 c. water, 3 t. sugar, and blow! Optional: Add food coloring. Dip a wire loop with a handle into bubble solution and blow! Or blow through a pipe cleaner shaped into a bubble loop, or a slotted spoon.

Homemade Modeling Clay Optional: Mix in food coloring. Store the clay in a plastic bag or a jar with a tight lid so it doesn't dry out. Combine 1 c. flour, 1⁄2 c. salt, 2 T. cream of tartar, 2 t. cooking oil, and 1 c. water in a pot and cook at a moderate temperature for several minutes. Take off heat. When cool enough to get your hands in there, knead it until the texture feels smooth.

Homemade Silly Putty Combine 1 c. liquid starch with 2 c. white all-purpose glue. Mix well. Store airtight (zip top bag or jar with tight lid).

Face Paint In each cup of a muffin tin, put 1⁄2 t. coldcream, 1 t. cornstarch, and 1⁄2 t. water. Add a bit of foodcoloring-a different color in each cup. Stir well. Use a small brush to paint children's faces. This paint will wash off withsoap and water.

Growing Crystals Arrange small rocks or pieces of coal on the bottom of a shallow glass bowl. Combine 6 T. salt, 6 T. liquid bluing (from the laundry section of your store), 6 T. water, and 1 T. ammonia. Pour the mixture over the rocks or coal. Add a few drops of food coloring. Your crystals soon will begin to grow. To keep them growing, add more water now and then.

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