Of Wooden Toys and Starships

I spent most of the school vacation week with my sister’s family and naturally, that meant making toys with my nephews and niece.
          Here are some of the toys we made. The boys in particular are “Star Wars” crazy, so, my older nephew and I made a “Tie fighter”.

Wooden Tie Fighter


Close up of Tie Fighter

My younger nephew and I made a “Jedi fighter”. I did most of the shaping on this one, and he did a lot of consulting. He did use the brace and bit to drill the hole for the R2D2 unit and he made the R2 out of a piece of ¾-inch dowel. He also came up with the idea for the canopy over the cockpit. (The X-wing on the left was made at Thanksgiving).

Jedi Fighter

          My niece and I were making more figures and furnishings for her Gypsy Caravan. We made a new bear, Oliver, and a pet pig, Porky, for the little bear family.

Porky and Oliver

          One of the great things about working with children is their ability to apply imagination to ordinary stuff. My six-year-old nephew found part of a wooden wheel I had cut up and said it looked like a canopy for the cockpit of his star fighter. When I looked at it, I saw he was right. My niece started sorting through the bags of wooden toy parts that I had brought- what were supposed to be headlights in different sizes she saw as wine cups and a lamp. Hubcaps became bowls and plates, and a large truck wheel became a round table. I had also brought some foam core to make an architectural model that I was working on for my sister and her husband. My oldest nephew instantly seized leftover scraps from the model. He then went on to transformed these same scraps into an elaborate and theatrical set for the ubiquitous star-wars/lego figures he collects. I wonder if Steven Spielberg got started this way.


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