Change The World Wednesday With A New Toy

Last week I shared with you the small water bottle that my grandson brought into my house and asked me what I could do with it because we shouldn’t throw things away.


I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  That day I filled it with birdseed for him to feed the birds from. That made him happy, but I knew he wanted something else.  I had a plan, and it would have gone like this.

My plan was to make  a robot from the bottle.  A box would be the body, the bottle would make the head and so on.  He didn’t like that idea as he wanted something else.

So I did what I usually do. I start small.  First thing I didn’t want it to look like a clear plastic bottle. I pulled out a can of enamel paint someone gave me (can’t remember who right now) and painted the bottle.

It sat over night while I let that image sink in.

I still believed a robot was the best idea I could come up with because he loves robots almost as much as Hulk or Spiderman.  I considered some of the empty toilet paper rolls for legs, but knew he would want arms that moved, and I had no idea what that would be.

Today, I picked up a pen to write myself a note. It was a cheap pen that only worked part of the time. I was frustrated and decided to see if I had any more of these cheap pens.  I found a couple and an idea was formed.

The pens would work great for legs and be sturdier than toilet rolls.

My idea of the bottle being the head was replaced with the idea it would become the body instead when I noticed my stack of egg cartons waiting to plant seeds to start for the garden.  I then remembered a stray furniture bolt I had set aside as well.

I knew now how this would look, except the arms. They had to be moveable.

I needed to think.  So I went into the hall to check the mail.  I found a stack of Red Plum fliers and large orange envelopes on the floor.  It bugs me to see this mess, which meant I had to pick them up.  When I did I realized this was more junk mail, ones that contained keys from a car dealer.

Now I had a plan and with a pony tail holder, a scrap of used elastic I  had my robot.


The picture is a little crooked, sorry but I was trying to get the entire robot photographed.  The very top of the head is a furniture bolt.   The head is 2 sections of the egg carton attached by a screw through the bottom of the cap and glued into the egg carton, the pens needed something for feet and the first thing I found were these washers.  The pony tail holder is around the bottle with the elastic tied on to it to suspend the key “hands” from.

After finishing the robot, I went to check my email and found the weekly challenge from Reduce Footprints. This weeks challenge was as follows:

This week before tossing anything out, consider alternate uses.  For example, could the item be composted or used for another purpose?   Could the item be given away and used by someone else?   And here’s a “biggie”: could we avoid the item in the first place thereby eliminating the need to toss it out?   The idea is to think before tossing anything and end up with less trash at the end of the week.

I had to laugh because I had created this entire toy out of a plastic bottle my grandson found with leftover items in my home.  Pens that didn’t work right.  Extra washers from some project that were sitting in my tool box, the egg carton, a screw again from something, the furniture bolt again was taken off something else, cheap and fake keys that I have yet to be able to stop being delivered (junk mail), and finally a stretched out pony tail holder and some worn elastic.  Nothing was new, and on their own each could have been tossed or recycled and it wouldn’t have taken up much space in a garbage bag.

Could the entire project have been avoided, sure if someone had used a reusable bottle for their water, baring that, something else would have been used for the arms, but having a small box under my sink to hold these bits and pieces allows me to make up strange things the kids love.

Oh and the rest of those keys… I pulled them all out of the envelopes before tossing the recyclables and for now will be in the toy box until I, or most likely the kids, think of something better for them.

So while I was going to share this with you another day, it felt right to do it today.

For those of you who remember my mentioning making a robot and might have had an idea formed of how it would look, how close were you?

21 thoughts on “Change The World Wednesday With A New Toy

    • Thank you. I gave it to my grandson today, it never left his hands :-) He was thrilled when he realized I hadn’t glued the lid on so he can still unscrew it to store little things he may find outside this summer. The keys for hands were a big hit as well.


  1. What an excellent Robot you made and I bet many a household has all the said items at their fingertips to create something similar.. You are like me for making toys, When my own children were small we hit hard times for a couple of years and as it came up to Christmas we had no money to spend on toys or presents .. So I made a medieval fort for my son out of a cardboard box and made turrets and draw-bridge, slits in the walls with platforms behind the windows.. I covered the whole thing with some Brick printed wall paper we had left over from papering over the fireplace which was all the rage in the 70’s here.. and covered it using wall paper paste. I made flags using cocktail sticks for the masts and only had to buy a couple of plastic soldiers and riders on horses like in the Knights of Old style with bows and arrows..
    My Son is now 37 and still says it was his best ever Christmas present .. That same year I made my daughter a dolls house using the same method but made the furniture too and curtains etc… And bought her a small doll which Id made extra tiny clothes for which fitted inside the dolls house….
    A little imagination some love and some left-over bits and bobs we can make anything we put our minds too really..
    Today many children are given far too much to appreciate … I bet your grandson will forever remember his Robot his Gran made.. :-)
    Love and Blessing


    • Thank you Sue. Your story is a wonderful lesson for everyone. As parents we would like to give our children everything we can and when we can’t we feel badly about it. To know your son at 37 still remembers his fort as the best Christmas present, and I’m sure your daughter loved and appreciated her doll house the same, can show parents that it’s not the money but the time and love that go into a present that will be appreciated.

      I agree, today children are given too much. My grandchildren are no exception. I was having a discussion with their mother the other day about them not wanting to pick up their toys. I mentioned that by this age I would give my children a small allowance if they picked up each day. Mine was 10 cents a day. At the end of the week they got the total and could spend it or save it. She decided that was a good idea. The very next day the children (yep even at 4 will put their heads together to gang up on her) came to her and asked to go to the store and for her to buy them a toy. She remembered what I’d said, but didn’t have time to start it, so she told them she didn’t have the money. They responded they did. She counted out $5 from each of their piggy banks and let them spend it. Because it was their money they are taking care of the toys better, at least so far.

      The point is we don’t have to buy them everything they want, it’s not healthy, imo.


  2. Oh … I meant to add that it’s fabulous that your grandson found something and didn’t want to throw it away. A little green superstar!!


    • I think I’m rubbing off on him :-) Seriously I have his mother save their cardboard for me to use with them in craft projects so he’s pretty used to mom sorting out the items she thinks I might be able to use. He’s just taking the initiative to bring me his own recyclables, but yes, I’m hoping to teach them to think before tossing things out by example since it’s their generation that will have to clean up the messes left from previous ones.


  3. Wow … nice upcycle! You are so creative! When I was little, my grandmother made me dolls and stuffed animals out of old socks. According to my mom, they were my favorite toys. I wish that I still had them because the fact that she made them is so special. I hope that your grandson’s parents will keep this treasure for him when he’s done playing with it … I just know that it’s going to be special to him because it was made with such love. :-)


    • I have been considering asking for some of their socks as they outgrow them to make them some dolls and puppets as my boys loved when I made them some. I wish you still had yours too, it would be nice to hand down. As for the robot, my grandson is pretty tough so I’m not sure if the egg carton head will hold up over the years.


    • Thanks, I hope they continue to think before tossing something out as they get older. This one really challenged me. What to make out of a plastic bottle that would be fun for a little boy. I left the head plain to let him have the chance to personalize it.


  4. Wow nice work – I think I imagined RED, and the head isn’t at all what I’d imagine. Nice work though! Well done to use all those otherwise wasteful things!


I enjoy hearing from you, please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s