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Monday, July 9, 2012

Blowing Winds... Cracking Limbs... New Toys

This evening I am sitting on my deck listening to the soft chirps of robins and finches in our willow tree.  Within the hour, they will settle down for the evening.  The scene was quite different just a few days ago when the willow branches were whipping in the wind as a fierce storm moved through our area causing damage & frustration from to power outages and uprooted trees.

Having two young sons, when I see the downed branches, I see opportunity for imaginative play, creative building, and toy making.  Our home is strewn with bits of wood, some for our nature table, others make great swords, and others wait for a rubber band to turn into a hero's slingshot.

My in-laws live in upper rural Connecticut on forested property.  We often come back from a visit filling our car with wood limbs, rocks or little items for the nature table.  After our last visit, we came home with a pile of birch limbs with which little Shane made a shelf.  We also came home with one of our favorite homemade wood toys made by my father in-law: Walking Stilts.  

To build stilts, all you need are round branch cuts and two six foot cuts of  rope.
We cut a birch trunk 3 inches tall & 4 inches in diameter to make the stilts.

-Drill holes 3 inches apart with a small drill bit.
-Using a larger drill bit over the small hole, drill in the bottom of the
stilt 1/4 inch so the knots of the rope do not stick out at the bottom.
-String the ends of the rope through each hole and tie them off.

There you are.  A fun new toy.
 Have your child put the ropes over their shoulders. 
(Tie them off at the top if the ropes are too long.)
Put their feet between the ropes on the stilts, hold the ropes, and take a walk.

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