Things to Make and Do

Ancient Library Research
Only In America

Things to Make and Do
Downey
1974

Submitter: Outdated!

Holly: The crafts themselves aren’t toooo bad, but the book itself is very unappealing because it looks so old.  The bird collage (below) sure has a lot of materials!  Who lets their kid work with paint thinner?

20 comments

  1. I had this book! I thought that it sucked even as a young girl in the 80’s. I would occasionally flip through the book, looking for something to do. Alas, most of the projects were complicated or lame.

  2. Out of date craft books are frustrating for kids. We had a ChildCraft Make and Do book from the 60’s or 70’s when I was a kid in the late 80’s, early 90’s. I wanted to make a lot of things from the book, particularly the doll and dollhouse furniture, but it always called for things like match boxes and cigar boxes which I didn’t have access to. Very frustrating.

  3. Who lets their kid work with paint thinner? It does ask for ‘the kind used for plastic models,’ not a gallon can of industrial solvent. ‘The kind used for plastic models’ comes in about a 1/2 ounce little jar, and is often included with the paint set of little 1/2 ounce model paints. It would be a sorry state of affairs if any interested child of about age 8 and up couldn’t handle such paints and thinner, either now or then.

    Glad the page about the peanut shell puppets was included, now we don’t have to worry about going out this weekend.

  4. You could make a little play, where the overly complicated bird collage goes on a rampage and eats the peanut people. Death from above!

  5. …not to mention a lot of kids now-a-days can’t be within a hair’s distance of peanuts. . .yecch, this craft project looks like something some delirious soul would be entertaining passengers with on a NY subway. “Hey Yoohoo, Mr. in the North Face jacket, can you spare a quarter? Mr. Peanut head is thirsty! Thank yooo!”

    Suzanne in CT

  6. Oh that’s right ! These books were ALWAY frustrating ! There were beautiful toys in the pictures, my sister and I wanted to make them and be so proud of our skills at craftmanship, and then we realized that we needed half a dozen items that were absent from the house and ended up bothering people around with “can I have wire ? can I have an empty bottle of wine ? can I have a 12-inch screwdriver and twenty manilla envelopes ? “…

    …we always ended up going back to playing legos 😀

  7. I remember having that book as a little girl. It was my da’s book when he was a boy and it wound up on mine and my sister’s bookshelf. We never made anything… I wonder if we still have it…

    You know you can find updated copies of this book?

  8. Back in those days children did indeed have the paint thinner for enamel paints used on plastic kits (even my sister made a few). Today these kits are still being made by those children – now magically transformed into men in their 40s – 60s. Occasionally a younger man with a small child comes into the kit shop and they choose a model plus glue, paints and thinners (!) so the kid can do something creative for the first & probably only time in its life. When he’s bored by that (after a few minutes) he returns with relief to his X Box 360, Playstation, Nintendo or whatever.

  9. Ah, a book from back in the days when peanuts weren’t deadly weapons. Those peanut people would be banned from lots of schools now.

  10. Heck, I’m only 25 and I remember using paint thinner as an elementary schooler. It’s not that dangerous. By elementary school, kids should know not to drink strange noxious-smelling substances. Kids are just not as fragile as parents want to believe nowadays.

    The comment above about peanuts carries on this point. We’re so quick to be terrified of any remote and unlikely consequence that we don’t allow children to have fun anymore. People give them sanitized kits of boring but safe crafts and are surprised when they turn instead to the more engaging digital world.

  11. I had this book in the early 90’s… and the outside was new. The pictures inside were the same though. I think it came in a set with a bunch of childcraft books or something.

    I remember making a few things from the book, and I think I got ideas to make other things from it. Even if I didn’t have all the materials, I think I just improvised.

  12. I had this book in the early 90’s and spent alot of time with it. I think many people don’t realize that the idea is to learn the skill. The challenge is how to apply the skill and what else can be created from the basic idea. But that’s just me.

  13. This book changed my life. Childhood was much different after I found it and saw everything through a crafty lens. If I ever have kids, they’re getting that book.

  14. Hi! We had a more updated version of this set as kids in the mid-eighties. The version I remember had a blue-ish cover. I was around 9-10 years. My younger sis was about 6 and we loved this book! It became our summer vacation rainy day reference… We did most of the projects without any adult assistance. Among our favorites which I remember, we’re the Japanese lanterns, dried-leaf stationary, homemade play dough (I believe it was from this book), the paper mâché pinata and carved potato ink stamps… Ahhhhh, the good old days…! This book really sparked our creative spirits. Today, we live in different places and are both still avid craft “hobbyists”!

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