08 • 3 SEPTEMBER 2006
Editorial: Boys and girls
MAKE: easy jet and propeller planes
MAKE: a hot air balloon
MAKE: a boatload of peggy passengers
5. MORE: transport ideas
6. This week's featured subscriber's blog
|1. Editorial: boys and girls
I have to admit that, despite years of serious crafting, I'm not
completely at ease with constructing planes, trucks and the like. Could
this be related to the fact that I am a woman and that my first child
was a girl? After all, I can easily whip up a cradle for a soft toy
with only a moment's notice but construct a toy aircraft carrier? Well,
I might have to think about that for a while.
As someone who tries hard not to gender stereotype my own kids, the
thought that gender could so strongly shape the way I play with my
children is a confronting one.
A series of famous studies in the 1970s and 80s called the 'baby x
studies' showed the extraordinary difference in the way adults treat
babies depending on whether they're dressed in pink or blue. The adults
gave toy dolls to the babies who were dressed in pink (and who were
actually boys) and toy trucks and cars to those dressed in blue (who
Gender roles are further reinforced as children grow with studies
finding that 'parents talk more to their young daughters, give them
less autonomy and encourage them to help others' while boys tend to be
encouraged from an early age to 'express certain types of emotions but
While children do tend to develop preferences for play along gender
lines most experts agree that it's good to give kids a range of
experiences beyond those that are gender-stereotypical.
There are several practical ways in which we, as parents and
caregivers, can achieve this. These include allowing girls and boys to
try all activities (don't assume that girls just like 'girl things' and
that boys like 'boy things'), encouraging boys and girls to play with
things together and encouraging respect of the opposite sex.
You can find a good list of tips to encourage healthy gender development of boys and girls. As for me, I'm more determined than ever to tackle that aircraft carrier with Ella.
Happy crafting and see you next week!
2. MAKE: easy jet and propeller planes
simple planes look great and are really easy to put together once
you've rustled up some good boxes. When your little one has finished
playing with them they look fantastic suspended from the ceiling with a
piece of fishing line.
You will need
• two long boxes (we used toothpaste and lightbulb boxes)
• two matchboxes
• two paddlepop sticks (popsticks)
• cardboard for wings (we used the side flaps from a couple of egg cartons)
• four buttons
• kid's craft glue
• acrylic paint and roller
• for jet plane – two cotton reels and (optional) a half spherical wooden block
• for propeller plane – cardboard cut into a propeller shape and a split pin
1. Paint the cardboard boxes. Or, if you're short on time you might want to omit this step.
2. Tape wings to the top of the planes.
3. Glue matchboxes and paddlepop sticks to the rear of the planes to
form a tail. The tail can be attached in different ways depending on
the size of your cardboard box.
4. Thread buttons onto a pipecleaner, fold over the ends and tape to bottom of the planes.
5. To make the jet plane, tape cotton reels to underside of the wing. We have also taped on a wooden block as a nose.
6. For the propeller plane, attach a cardboard propeller to the nose of
the plane using a split pin. I've also attached a piece of plastic that
I prised off from the top of a jar of cinnamon.
MAKE: a hot air balloon
simple craft will capture the imagination of both toddlers and
preschoolers. Before you decide on a box for the basket, make sure that
your child's special toy will be able to fit in to go for a ride. Also,
it's a good idea to have some spare balloons on hand in case of sharp
You will need
• a balloon
• lengths of colourful ribbon
• a box
• items for decorating the box
1. Decorate your box and tape lengths of ribbon to the sides. We had a
very colourful tissue box that didn't need any decorating, but if you
had a plain box you might want to paint it and glue some bits and
pieces to it.
2. Blow up the balloon and tape the other end of the ribbons to the balloon.
3. Tape an additional length of ribbon to the top of the balloon so
that your little one can make it fly. You can also use it to hang the
balloon from a doorway or window.
4. MAKE: a boatload of peggy passengers
About a year ago we came across a large bag of old fashioned wooden
clothes pegs or 'dolly pegs' at a craft shop and have enjoyed making
peg dolls ever since. Peg dolls are one of those crafts that can be as
simple or as complicated as you choose. Our peggy passengers are simple
and colourful individuals who enjoy nothing better than an afternoon on
the boat with some friends!
• old fashioned wooden clothes pegs – these are sometimes called 'dolly pegs' and are readily available online
• a texta or permanent marker
• wool, cotton balls, buttons, fabric and contact for decorating
We drew faces on the pegs using a permanent marker. Ella found this
quite difficult – next time I think we'll try doing eyes by
using a cotton tip dabbed in paint. We then wrapped a small length
of fabric to form a skirt and attached it using a square of sticky
contact. You could also use tape, glue or even rubber bands. We glued
wool strands, cotton balls and miniature pom poms to the heads
along with a couple of buttons and foam circles.
Peggy passengers are great for travelling in your custom created crafty
vehicles. All you need to do is provide them with an appropriate perch.
5. More transport ideas
Make a spaceship for a favourite toy
Travel on an unusual (for you) form of transport
Draw as many different forms of transport as you can think of
Transport a pile of sand from one spot to another – using only a teaspoon!
• Construct an aircraft carrier for your 'easy jet and propeller planes'
|6. This week's featured subscriber's blog
The life and times of this vintage chica
"I'm a native Texas gal who is raising three boys, keeping my husband fed and
happy (the fed part is a full-time job in itself), and trying fit a
little creativity in somewhere. My style is pretty eclectic, but always
vintage inspired. Most of the time I think I should be committed, but
this is my crazy life and I dont know any other way to do it."
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