Children Create Toys from Trash

by Cynthia Price, ChildFund Director of Communications

’Tis the season for thinking about toys.

But what if there is no toy store? What if there is no money for toys?

In developing countries, children have shown an amazing amount of creativity when it comes to fashioning toys for play. Some children have taken broken flip-flops, scrap plastic bags, twigs and string and made a toy sailboat.

Other children have created soccer balls using discarded plastic bags and heavy twine. They’ve made kites using paper, string and bamboo.

Many of these innovative toys are on view as part of ChildFund’s traveling exhibit, The Power to Play: From Trash to Treasure. This holiday the exhibit is on display at the Idaho State Historical Museum through Feb. 5, 2011.

“The Idaho Historical Museum acts as a resource for Idaho history as well as a cultural center to expose Idaho citizens to the people of the world,” says Kurt Zwolfer, education specialist for the museum. “By viewing the creativity and resourcefulness exhibited by the children who made these toys, we hope our visitors will have a better understanding of the universal language of play.”

ChildFund's Anne Lynam Goddard (left) meets with museum staff.

“It’s the perfect holiday display,” says Anne Schorzman, events coordinator for the museum. “We think it will inspire many when they come to see the exhibit.”

In addition to the collection of toys, the museum also created interactive pieces, ideal for children visiting the museum. Children can bowl, make beaded snakes and play instruments from everyday items.

ChildFund International has long recognized play as essential to childhood development. Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO says, “We are sharing this toy collection as a visible demonstration of how the power to play helps children thrive and become leaders of enduring change in their communities and the world.”

The toy collection has traveled across the United States with stops at museums and venues in Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Denver and New York.

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