Our older son really loves Playmobil. We got a small set at a thrift store a few years ago, and then a larger box at a garage sale a few months later. Then some friends with a son who had outgrown his Playmobil gave us several sets. Our son often plays for hours at a time with those toys, incorporating lots of other stuff (blocks, lego, little animals, etc.) into whatever he’s creating. And our two-year-old is starting to get the hang of it too – although sometimes he still just wants to knock down whatever is being built…
Because I ordered a replacement part for one of the sets last year, I ended up on the Playmobil mailing list, and last week we got their new catalog in the mail. I gave it to our son, letting him know that we wouldn’t be ordering anything (we have plenty already), but that he could use the catalog as inspiration for building things with the stuff he already has. He did pretty well with that concept, but he’s only five and he loved pretty much everything in the catalog. It was a good opportunity to talk about having enough, and about how buying things doesn’t really make us any happier. But although he did seem to understand some of what I was talking about, he still kept mentioning how much he’d love some of the luggage that was on the airport page.
He showed me that the luggage had handles and wheels like the bags his grandparents had when we picked them up at the airport recently (he thought the baggage claim area was fascinating). I thought about it for a while, and decided that we could make some luggage for his little people using stuff we had around the house.
A little while later, this is what we ended up with:
The wheels are just a couple washers on a bolt, with a nut on the end to hold everything in place (I superglued the nut so that it can’t come off). Then I sewed a piece of felt around the bolt and made it long enough to be a platform to which we could attach the bag. Then I sewed up a little bag, added a brad and a string loop so that it could be opened and closed, and sewed it onto the piece of felt that was already attached to the wheels. It’s now holding a pair of Playmobil snowshoes, all set for a winter vacation destination.
I made one other piece of luggage, which was even easier. This one only took a few minutes to put together, using scraps of felt to make a little duffle bag.
(Please excuse that little crumb…)
A dignified Mr. Bunny heading out on a trip with his fancy new duffle bag.
Our son thinks these are pretty nifty. And I think it’s pretty great to take inspiration from a marketing catalog and turn it into an opportunity to teach a child that it’s more fun to create something than it is to just whip out the credit card.