This post is actually about something (or a collection of things) I made a couple of years ago. I was thinking about it this morning when tidying up before work, and with Christmas getting ever closer.
A couple of years ago small person was a huge fan of a very popular programme on Cbeebies called ‘The Adventure of Abney and Teal’. Visitors to this blog from the UK and who have small children or grandchildren will probably be familiar with this programme but visitors from America might not be. It is an utterly charming programme for children aged 2 – 5 (ish). Small person really embraced this programme (the characters live in a park on an island) and have all sorts of adventures. As is often the nature of television programmes for small people the premiss behind it seems rather odd at face value but it has an innocence and charm that is truly lovely.
Small person longed to have adventures with Abney and Teal and used to say every night before going to sleep that she hoped she would have dreams that would take her to Abney and Teal’s world. As is often the way with successful tv programmes for children, it wasn’t long before there was tie-in merchandise and you could buy Abney and Teal dolls but they were about £25 each. I wasn’t paying £50 for two dolls as there were more than two characters so you could pay £50 and not have a full set of characters just the main two. I have included images below of the characters. First is Abney and Teal:
Picture from BBC website
This is Bop
Then we have Neep and the Poc Pocs. There is also a small grey dog, called Toby Dog but I couldn’t find a picture of him.
Small person had acquired a small fabric Neep that had been a giveaway with a Cbeebies magazine so I decided to make all the other characters. Now small person was only four and I think that when it comes to making toys for children the younger they are the easier it is to do. Also, these characters did lend themselves to a fabric based make – but I think that is true of many characters designed to appeal to small children.
These are the ones I made.
I am not suggesting these are perfect but they were perfect in the eyes of small person who loved them (and still does). There is a full set of 7 poc pocs but I could only find five this morning for the photograph. When I look at them now I can see how I might have refined them or made them better but they did the trick a couple of years ago and even now small person thinks of them simply as the characters, not as handmade versions of them. And, significantly they cost a fraction of the price to make. I think that I spent less than £15 on the oddments of crafting materials I needed, lots of the materials needed came from stash.
So I guess the point of this post is that if you have a small child who has a favourite character from children’s television or a book, and you don’t want to buy an overpriced tie-in toy than have a go at making it. Most small people are fairly forgiving in terms of home made toys, and usually see what they want to see. The toys I made looked enough like the characters for small person to be totally entranced with them. I think the older children get the harder it is to hand-make toys for them but for small children, if you have some basic skills, it is well worth doing and will save you a fortune.
Over to you, what toys have you made for your children that have been a huge hit?