January 5, 2014

DIY Wind Up Toy Squirrel Valentines

Need a unique Valentine's Day treat that doesn't involve candy or junk food?  I love these wind up toy valentines because they are fun, cause kids to ask questions about robotics and sugar free!  And no, it's not too soon to talk Valentine's Day because Target is already decked out in pink and red.  At least that's my defense and I'm sticking with it.

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If you're like me then you have probably walked through a few toy stores and passed right by the Z Wind Ups display.  Say what?  It's usually a clear display with a whole bunch of small wind up toys on it.  In years past I wrote them off as silly.  Not something that would be of interest to my child. WRONG!

This story actually has a bit of a sad start.  Craig began bringing these little wind up toys home for Kayla from the gift shop each time he would visit his dad at City of Hope where he was undergoing a pretty risky bone marrow transplant as a man in his late 60's. Kayla quickly amassed a nice collection of them as germy 3 year olds were entirely banned from that ward of the hospital.

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We soon discovered that not only were they cute, but they were pretty amazing.  For example, this squirrel does this whole crazy dance including a part where he flips up vertically and spins.  As you can imagine they are a total hit with the younger crowd and left the adults wondering how all of that technology was packed into such a small toy.

So when Valentine's Day rolled around last year we made a few of these for Kayla's besties.  They were really fun, easy to make and involved no sugar high or parental dietary judgements.  In short, they rocked.

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All I did was print out a cute little saying (feel free to make fun of my corniness but it WAS Valentine's Day after all!) and glued it onto one of those foam hearts you can find packs of in the Target dollar section.  Then I poked a couple of holes in the foam heart and used a little string to tie on the squirrel.  That's it!  Super easy, really cute and something that will last more than a day.

If you're curious about those Z Wind Ups, I actually got to meet the guys who make them at Toy Fair last year in New York and quite frankly I've never seen people so passionate about what they do.  We had a ball playing with all of their little toys and I was surprised to find out that some of them did things I didn't even realize - like swim in the bathtub!

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