Making Inventive Wooden Toys cover

Making Inventive Wooden Toys

33 Wild & Wacky Projects Ideal for STEAM Education

Most of us grew up with some type of wooden toy. Everything from simple vehicles with wooden wheels crafted by our parents to keep us occupied to more complex toys manufactured and sold in toy stores. Today, most kids aren’t happy unless the have an electronic device in their hands, a phone or a Nintendo controller. In fact, when I drove past a middle school a few days ago, the kids waiting for rides home were mostly standing by themselves looking at their phones.

Luckily there are still folks out there who think kids should be kids and have fun, thoughtful and inventive toys to play with. And this is where Making Inventive Wooden Toys (MIWT) comes in. Written by Bob Gilsdorf, MIWT is filled with creative toy ideas, complete with beautiful photographs, materials and tools lists, easy-to-understand physics explanations, project patterns, and exploded diagrams.

Dime Launcher Tornado Box

Projects include Desktop Rockets, a Gumball Aquarium, a Bird Poop “Splatter-er,” Catapult Castle, Secret Drawer Shelf and Water Catapult Room Protector. My favorite was the World’s Smallest Wooden Toy described a “Totally Useless, Yet Very Curious Little Jumping Widget.”

Table of Contents Exploded Diagram

Making Inventive Wooden Toys would make a wonderful gift for kids who have shown an interest in science. It offers great lessons in the studies of science, technology, engineering, art, and math-aka STEAM. The projects seem a bit complicated for anyone who is not a seasoned woodworker, but I’m sure that, with a little adult assistance, most children will find the projects fun and (Shh!) educational.

Making Inventive Wooden Toys is a publication of Fox Chapel Publishing. Its MSRP is $19.99 US, $24.99 CAN and £17.99 RRP UK.

Review by Scott Pfeiffer

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