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Thread: Wooden Toy Ideas?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
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    525

    Wooden Toy Ideas?

    Hi guys! It's been a while.

    I've taken a break from wood working for quite some time due to space and noise constraints in small Tokyo Apartments, but I'm now in a place where *small* projects are mostly doable. At least, I am on the first floor, and the only one on the first floor, so I need not worry about vibrations from light work traveling through the floor.

    What's more, is that I'm now a dad! I've got a little guy, not even two months old. So I thought: what better to make, should I find the time to do so, than some classic wooden toys?

    Have any of you dabbled with toy making, and if you have, what toys did you find to be most popular among young children?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    It mostly depends on the age of the child.

    When my son and his wife's first child was born I made a rattle:

    Rattle.jpg

    It has now been played with by all three of their children. That would require a lathe.

    A small rocking horse was made for the youngest but it stayed here at grandma & grandpa's when the family moved to Korea. My son is in the Airforce and that is where he serves.

    Little boys like train engines:

    Train Engines.jpg

    Wooden airplanes are easy to make. It seems no pictures were taken of the simple ones made for my grandkids years ago. These were not made to fly but the kids had a lot of fun pretend flying.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Missouri
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    1,835
    We have a set of blocks, 12 blocks, that stack on dowels stuck into a base. They have been the most popular of toys with 24 grand kids and now three great grands joining the fray. Animals and vehicles, planes, trains, and autos. Things they can’t recognize from everyday life get left in the box most often.
    Jim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    169
    I made a squid for a friend's son who loves the ocean. The tentacles were fun: carve a rod, taper it, then cut it in to sections, drill out and search by running during through them. Could be used to make a snake, too.

    There are also nice plans for simple doll-like robots that were very popular with kids I gave them to.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,349
    I recommend a book or three. I have six books on making wooden toys. They have ideas for things from babies on up so you can get more ideas as the child grows! Amazon should have lots of book listings.

    Congratulations on your little guy. What and adventure you have coming!!! And what a fortunate kid to have a dad who will make things for him! (Three sons here, the oldest is almost 50! )

    The most popular things I've made for tiny tots were wooden blocks. Not the square kind, but a variety of shapes and sizes. All with corners and edges sanded smooth. I used hard maple for the fine grain, no finish. Other fine-grained woods would be good too. Pay attention to the minimum sizes as age appropriate to avoid a choking tragedy! Safe dimensions are on the internet.

    I made a number of sized blocks but a number the same of most sizes. The boys LOVED to stack them up and knock them over, lay them in a row, throw them across the room, use them for teething! I used 3/4" boards for most and made most about 2" wide, squares, rectangles, triangles, various curves. As the boys got older, these were used to make roads, tunnels, hills, etc for little toy cars. The grand kids still use these when I get them out and they are 6-10 years old.

    If you buy some dowels with large enough diameter not to be a choking hazard you can make various round things too. BTW, you can buy such blocks for about 1000 times what it would cost to make them.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    Hi guys! It's been a while.

    I've taken a break from wood working for quite some time due to space and noise constraints in small Tokyo Apartments, but I'm now in a place where *small* projects are mostly doable. At least, I am on the first floor, and the only one on the first floor, so I need not worry about vibrations from light work traveling through the floor.

    What's more, is that I'm now a dad! I've got a little guy, not even two months old. So I thought: what better to make, should I find the time to do so, than some classic wooden toys?

    Have any of you dabbled with toy making, and if you have, what toys did you find to be most popular among young children?

  6. #6
    I like the mobiles. Those colorful hanging over the crib airplanes, butterflies, clouds . Always been fascinated by those things…..moving all
    around without batteries ! You can even make little cable cars….but you’ll have to be careful with “air spaces”. Congratulations ! Have a
    ball !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    183
    I had plans to make a set of blocks, with each block a different wood species. Alas, it didn't happen
    Hobbyist woodworker
    Maryland

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
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    13,804
    "The Great All American Wooden Toy Book" has a number of toys that kids will like.
    Here are a few examples:biplane2.jpgbulldoz1.jpggrader1.jpgIMG_7081.jpgplanefront.jpgsteamroller1.jpgProjects_0042.jpg
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
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    184
    I did a run of 3 sets of train cars for friends a while back. What is not shown are the magnetic connectors. Your would need to source the round parts.
    20180308_193116_resized.jpg20171121_162203_resized.jpg
    Epilog Mini 24-45W, Corel Draw X6, Photoshop CS5, Multi Cam CNC

  10. #10
    A scroll saw and some plywood for jigsaw puzzles. A scroll saw is not too loud. I use one in my apartment shop. I have a book of cleverly simple plans. Each piece is painted a solid color which makes painting easier. I found a source for non-toxic bright color paint. When t go to the apartment tomorrow I can add the name and publisher of the book and the brand of paint to this thread. It goes without saying the finish needs to be safe to eat.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    1,278
    Congratulations! I've also found blocks to be a big hit, especially in world with lots of plastic. And I'm about to make another mobile as a gift, which is a great apartment project if you have a fret saw or scrollsaw. I do hawks flying 'flat' so they look right from the 'baby's eye view. Enjoy!
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    1,039
    Blocks for sure to start. One of the first things I did with my first table saw was process a bunch of 2x2 construction lumber into cubes, enough to pretty well fill a one cubic foot box made of plywood for my nieces. I was set for life with the nieces just on that one project.

    Another one I have read about that I will do for my future grandkids is a big pile of wooden plaques or plates in mostly uniform sizes but with a few different colors (species) of wood. Maybe 1x2x0.5 inches nominal. Having a 'big' tub of these to lay out in various playful patterns is supposed to help the little ones be good at math later. Something about patterns and predictability. I wish I was better at math. I don't think the plaques would have helped me because I am very stupid, but no reason to not give the next generation every possible chance to do well.

    My main point would be to give kids something to do, not something to look at.

    Congratulations on the new baby. Life as you knew it is over.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
    Posts
    547
    I didnt take any pictures but I had made a grasshopper tow behind toy. The rear legs were attached to the body and the wheels so they move.

    Congrats, if you need any more I can ship you one of mine

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    815

    Blocks, Cubes, Cylinders, Spheres, Sticks, & Rings

    My grandkids (3 & 9) like free form construction toys. I found a great selection of well thought-out blocks, etc., in Doug Stowe's "Making Classic Toys that Teach".

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    1.5 hrs north of San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    815
    Doug Stowe's "Making Classi. Toys that Teach" includes flat pieces for exploring patterns.

    My daughter asked for some silhouettes of my granddaughter's favorite animals. Easy peasy. Their outlines were copied from the internet and resized. They are painted in a solid [gray] color and hang on the wall. They've been a big hit with everyone.

    When my grandson came along, I got an order for six more of HIS favorite animals.

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