Tag Archives: toys

Dec 22 2009

The Happy Truck

Photos and story by the Cali project team in Colombia

Juan Pablo is an 8-year-old sponsored boy from the Cali project in Colombia. He attends a public school near his house.

Juan and his family live in a difficult financial situation in which they lack of many things, and one of them is toys. He is a very creative child who, with the help of his creative and handy mother, builds some improvised toys with recycled materials. Juan spends lots of time making toys and playing with them.

For his father, who is unemployed at the moment, Juanís creativity has been a blessing, because when he wants toys and his father canít afford them, they both find creative ways to make them.

We found Juan making a new cardboard toy truck, which he calls his ìHappy Truck.î This is the process he uses to make this Happy Truck.

He finds cardboard of different sizes, colors and textures, usually these are used cardboard boxes he finds at the local dairy stores.

Here we present, step-by-step, the process to build a ìHappy Truck.î

He uses a disposable plastic cup to draw the tires of the truck, which will be painted black later in the process.

He uses a disposable plastic cup to draw the tires of the truck which will be painted black later in the process.

He cuts other pieces that will be used as the body of the truck. Once he finishes that, he paints the pieces red. He cuts other pieces that will be used as the body of the truck. Once he finishes that, he paints the pieces red.

He cuts other pieces that will be used as the body of the truck. Once he finishes that, he paints the pieces red.

The tires he drew and cut earlier are now being painted ñ black, of course! The tires he drew and cut earlier are now being painted ñ black, of course!

The tires he drew and cut earlier are now being painted ñ black, of course!

Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together
Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together

Another little box is needed to build the cabin of the truck, then all the pieces are glued together.

Windows are very important in his truck. Square pieces of white paper are used as windows

Windows are very important in his truck. Square pieces of white paper are used as windows.

Truck is ready and the fun begins. Truck is ready and the fun begins. Truck is ready and the fun begins.

Truck is ready and the fun begins.

The coloring material, glue and scissors are part of the school supplies that CFCA offers them every year, at the same time. Juanís neighbors also give him material for his toys. This truck will last for a couple of weeks, so Juan already has more boxes to make another one of his Happy Creations.

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Jul 8 2009

Serious Fun: Creative play

By Rev. Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher

As I write this, I am watching my own children play in a well-manicured, well-equipped park in our neighborhood. I cannot help but think of the children around the world whom I have seen playing in sewers, empty lots, fields with crops and barren yards with scraggly dogs nipping at their heels. But somehow, they seemed just as happy as my children do today.

The joke at Christmastime is always that you spend a fortune on toys for children but what they enjoy most is playing with the boxes, ribbons and packing peanuts that the toys came in. This is universal for children. I have watched children in Sierra Leone, Haiti, Venezuela and, yes, even my own children pull items out of the trash to equip their imaginary world. I remember a beautiful bicycle that a boy in Africa made for me. He found scraps of wire and fashioned this incredible toy. An old sheet can hold powerful fairy magic. A large empty box houses a universe of possibilities.

This call to creative play is yet another gift that children living in poverty give to our children. I think we often do our children a disservice by creating imaginary worlds for them in the form of video games and TV shows. What grown-ups create will never be as good as what kids can think of. Unfortunately, (and this is a personal confession) when life gets harried, it sometimes feels easier to let the kids turn on the TV than to encourage creative play.

Summertime is a perfect time to send the kids outside and get them to dig in the dirt, climb a tree or watch clouds.

As a challenge to your children or grandchildren, let them go through your recycling bin or dig in your attic, garage or closet to see what treasures can be unearthed. To what worlds can they be transported? What magical creatures lurk in your laundry room? What important business must be dealt with in the secrecy of a clubhouse? They will probably not know it, but they will be in solidarity with the billions of children around the world who do not have toys, TVs and video games. All children need is the time and space to be a child.

As a challenge to you, allow yourself to enter that world as well. Allow yourself the freedom to be child-like and think of your own sponsored child. But beware Ö as you magically turn into a knight in shining tin foil or first mate on a raft floating down the Mississippi, you might find that you get lost while other, more “important” matters disappear in a fog of your own childhood memories.

Related links:
Serious fun, part 1
Serious fun, part 2

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