Toys & Recyclablesbalancing bird

From January 2007, in the “World in the East End Gallery” section of the V&A Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green, London) there was a peculiar collection of handmade toys. The collection is part of a new enterprise project between the Museum of Childhood and Tower Hamlets Waste Education Project.
It comprised a series of Toy-making workshops for families and schools that I led every Tuesday at the mentioned Museum.
This collection is part of my special effort to make easy and affordable to everyone the building of ten traditional toys.
“Thinking globally and acting locally”, these toys are teaching us a joyful way to take care of the world, reawakening children’s participation and creativity.balancing corks
A toy-making guide has been produced: copies of the booklet are still available at the Museum or you can send me messspider toyage..

The displayed handmade toys are a way to answer today’s environmental problems, also offering children, families and teachers an alternative to the current global market of toys.
These toys really work and are engaging people within the frame of “genuine play”.
They are stimulating people’s imagination and motor skills, inventing games to play alone or together. Looking at them, people usually recognise something of the toys’ traditional appearance, from Children’s folklore within the world culture of toys.
Also for this reason, the making of these toys becomes easier.
The necessary manual process to make these toys is quite simple, and can be used by people without special skills. This encourages people’s participation.

As a consequence, these handmade toys are inexpensive too, and people can develop their own hands-on approach to toy-making. By looking at their components, you will recognise that the toys are made using mainly local and recyclable materials, everyday items easily found around the home. We all need local practices and a global vision!

As a result these products are an introduction to a form of art, design and technology really inspired from asome spinning tops made with recyclablesn alternative culture of play and sustainable lifestyle. Working to broader people’s imagery, I like to offer an alternative to the nowadays global and invasive market of mass produced toys, which are pushing out all small craftsmen and traditional toy-makers (keen to preserve the world cultural heritages).

VIDEO Two minutes of my toy-making activities
at the Museum of Childhood (LONDON) - Victorian and Albert Museum are on YouTube
Two additional resources has been created: Toys & Recyclables booklet and DVD
Have a look at the slide-show presentation because then you can become a toy-maker… To find out more about waste minimisation and recycling visit