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Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations Paperback – 19 Nov 2011

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Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations + The Best of Making Things: A Handbook of Creative Discovery + Illustration School: Let's Draw Cute Animals
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc (19 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159030912X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590309124
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 1.1 x 22.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Making toys which encourage creative thought and play 11 Oct. 2011
By Shala Kerrigan - Published on
Format: Paperback
Made by Joel is one of my favorite style and d.i.y. blogs. So naturally, I had high expectations for his book of toys for kids. Made to Play met those expectations easily.

The projects are easy to make and are simple and elegant, giving lots of room for imagination to play. They are also inexpensive and many of them creatively re-use scraps of wood, fabric and buttons.

Most of the projects are meant for kids who are beyond the stage of putting everything in their mouths, but some can be used for babies. The embroidered soft instruments for example or the embroidery pillow doll done in one color sketch style on a contrasting background.

For kids that are a bit older, very simple doll houses invite creative thought. They are meant to be played with, not just to be pretty. Wire dolls, modern furniture, and decorations that can be a wonderful rock found while out adventuring or a twig turned into a pretty potted tree. Even at my age, I want to make myself at least a room box!

Lots of paper toys, many of them that can be packed flat to bring to restaurants and other places you may want something quiet for children to play with. My daughter loved the slotted discs building set. Those impressed me, but my favorite paper project in the book is the wall hanging sculptures. Using children's art along with wire to make displays. A fish dangles from a wire wave, a bird perches on a wire branch turning children's art into something very stylish and special.

Percussion instruments made from scrap wood encourage children to make noise and move. I love the bottle cap tambourine.

The wood toys require very simple tools for the most part. While power saws are handy, you could make a lot of them using coping saws. You will also need a wood burning kit for some of them.

Paper projects, you'll need glue, markers and scissors.

Sewing projects require hand needles, floss, and a sewing machine for strong seams. They don't need any specialized sewing skills. The style of them makes them perfect for crewel/wool type embroidery in my opinion.

For wire projects, you'll need pliers and wire cutters. He uses easy to manipulate wire from hardware stores.

This is play things at their best. Encouraging creative thought and interactivity.

The instructions are well written and the projects are inexpensive to make and just charming.

My reviews are always my personal and honest opinion. I recieved this book from the publisher to review for my craft site, Don't Eat the Paste.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Create Toys With Your Kids 16 Dec. 2011
By Ginny Mapes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wonderful book is a must have for teachers, parents, grandparents, or anyone working with children. Joel Henriques, Northwest creator of the book, Made to Play; Handmade Toys & Crafts for Growing Imaginations, gives the reader many suggestions for 35 small, simple-to-make projects. These fabulous products will be a big hit with children. The book includes templates.

He also has a website:, where you can see him in action. Online, are also many projects which can be downloaded. Have fun, play!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful projects! 5 Jan. 2012
By S. Joyce - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very impressed with the amount of projects as well as the quality of them. There is something that will appeal to just about every different age and type of child. I love that all the projects use natural items you might find in your home or around your backyard. In a day and age where every child's toy on the market has bells, whistles, noises, pieces that come apart and are all made with plastic, it's wonderful to see a book of toys for children that rejoices in the beauty of nature all around us.

This book is certainly worth purchasing!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource 30 Jan. 2013
By Mrs. Kees - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joel's book is fabulous. I teach 7 & 8 graders art and used ideas from this book and his website for a great unit this past fall. The kids had a blast. As a mom of four boys I wish I'd had this when they were little!
made to play! 7 May 2014
By olivetmom - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I often find books like Made to Play! rather intimidating and never use any of the ideas. Made to Play is beautifully written, inspiring, easy to follow, and rich with practical, entertaining, and original ideas. I not only want to create many of these projects, I believe I can thank to Mr. Henriques understandable directions and drawings. I was amazed by how generous he is on his website, There are so many free projects and beautiful and creative coloring pages! The website and this book are a part of our family fun times from now on! Thank you Joel Henriques!
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