Making Toys for Grandchildren

In Rob’s editorial in last issue’s eZine, he spoke of making gifts in his shop for his granddaughter’s birthday. Unsurprisingly, making gifts for grandchildren – and other children —  struck a chord with other woodworkers. – Editor

“I read your intro on the tops you turned for your granddaughter with interest. My woodworking club (Long Island Woodworkers, meeting in Smithtown, New York) makes toys through the year and donates hundreds of them to the Marines’ Toys for Tots program. Throughout the year, whenever I get scraps of wood, they become tops — 50 or more each year. My most productive year was 72. It’s fun to do and is for a good cause. And, I get to spin them as a ‘test’ as I finish each one. My granddaughters are a little old for tops now, but when they were younger, I made them dreidels for Channukah.” – Barry Saltsberg

“As a father of four with six grands, the ‘danger’ as it concerns the kids is that the tops will be lost under the couch or somewhere else! The dogs may help in destruction but, barring canine intervention, in two weeks, the tops will be missing in action.“ – Tim Harrelson

“I’m also a grandpa and have made lots of toys and games for my granddaughters.  One that was particularly popular was a marble slide, perhaps you’ve seen one.  I wish I had a picture.  Marbles roll on six rails or tracks, one above the other, tipped downward in opposite ways. A marble on the top rolls down the uppermost rail and falls onto the second rail. The marble rolls down in the opposite direction until it drops onto the third rail, etc.  There is a collection box below the bottom rail to contain the marbles.  The six rails are held by two legs close to the end of each rail to allow it to stand.  I had my granddaughters paint the rails different colors before attaching them to the legs, about two feet high.  It’s colorful, there’s movement, and even noise when the marbles fall into the box.  Money back if they don’t love it.” – Anthony Magarello

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