Monday, November 17, 2008

Paper Toys

Poor KosherCop has a cold. A wet, sloppy, snuffly, hacking cold. The kind I haven't seen the likes of since he first started preschool and would come home sick every other week.

Since Monday is CSA day, KosherCop usually stays for "late-stay" at his school. That way KosherCook can manage the veggie pickup. So, since KosherCop was not in school, I worked from home today and looked after him. It was actually kind of nice - he's very snuggly when he's sick. And most of the day he was content to watch TV or do art projects.

He is really into cutting paper these days. He got a workbook a couple of years ago with pages of pictures to cut out - mostly for the practice of using the scissors - that was too hard for him. Just recently, though, he discovered this book and has cut his way through most of it. In fact, the few pages left are not challenging enough for him.

So as part of the keeping-the-whining-to-a-minimum extravaganza, I went looking for some more pictures for KosherCop to cut out. I remembered about the wonderful site, The Toymaker, a site I had subscribed to a while ago and filed away for future reference. Marilyn Scott Waters is an illustrator who designs paper toys you can download for free on her website. We downloaded the "Chocolate Truck" you see above and the "Fast Race Car".

KosherCop started cutting out the Chocolate Truck and got carried away and hacked off the wheels. Since he is really good at cleaning up his mess, he decided both the toys should be recycled and stuffed them in the recycling bin. Hours later I realized what happened, fished out the sheets, flattened them, reattached the wheels on the chocolate truck and tried to assemble it.

Ours did not turn out quite as nice as the picture above from the Toymaker's site, but it sure was cute. All the toys available are quite whimsical and delightful - I highly recommend visiting it. If I was printing them out for an older child, I probably would have printed them on cardstock so they were easier to put together. But with KosherCop I figured it would just mean nicer paper was going to end up in the recycling.

Another site that has a great selection of free downloads is the Canon site - they have a whole town you can print, cut, and assemble. The toys there are a little more complicated. I printed out parts of the town to put together myself when KosherCop was younger, and I think even now they are little too complicated for him. But they are pretty cool.

It's frustrating, though, because I can remember being sick as a child and my own mother would bring me these workbooks with a city or a circus or some other scene that had perforated pieces that I could punch out and assemble. In fact I remember spending a long, itchy week with the chicken-pox playing exclusively with these workbooks until a small city had sprouted up and overtaken our dining room. I cannot find anything like this anywhere now.

The other thing that provided far too much entertainment for my sick kid, was going to and looking up every single Magic Treehouse book.

I have no one but myself to blame for this.

Yesterday we were supposed to go to the library after running errands, also to look at Magic Treehouse books. Not to borrow them - we already have a bunch out - just to look at them. As the day wore on, I realized he was getting sick and I felt pretty crappy myself. I wanted to get him home, so as he was crying (or trying to - his heart wasn't really in it) I dangled the promise of hot chocolate and "looking inside" the books online instead of going to the library.

Well, this was an instant hit and the fun continued today. KosherCop had me look up every book that had the "click to look inside" graphic so he could view each cover up close, find out the chapter names, and read the excerpt. He was very careful to avoid spoiling any upcoming plotlines, so for each book we had to stop reading when the kids reached the treehouse. For those of you who are familiar with these books, I'm sure you have noticed that as good as these books are, there is a formula. So essentially we read 25 times about 2 kids either waking up in the middle of the night or sitting on the porch in the rain, yelling "be right back" to one or both of their parents, and dashing off into the woods. Then KosherCop would hold up his hand and say "Stop! Go Back."

It never got old - for KosherCop. Me, you coulda stuck a fork in me after the first 3. The best part was that he kept telling me - while I was trying to work - that he "needed the computer".

Ah yes, my first taste of things to come. I didn't expect to hear that for a couple of years yet.

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