Here are some toys I got this week to go in my Shoe Boxes. It seems to be getting harder and harder to find decent, basic toys (another hint to anyone who likes making things!?). When I first started doing Shoe Boxes a few years back I could fill them with bouncy balls, skipping ropes, marbles, toy cars, elastics, and much more, and all for around $2 a box. This visit I found it really hard to find things that were not attached to a tv show, require batteries, and weren't either too expensive or too trashy. I'm wondering if I need to find new places to shop? Any ideas, New Zealander's? I bought this lot at the Warehouse. Some of last year's were at a Dollar Value store.
So here is what I ended up with:
I really like coming up with things that can be split between boxes (like the toy animals and big smiley plastic spoons above). That way each child gets more than one toy - they might get a ball, a toy car, and a couple of plastic animals. Much more fun that way! It is always a war between wanting an item of reasonable quality and something that is uncostly. Quality because many of these kids have never, and may never again receive a gift. Their Shoe Box toys are very valuable to them, and I don't want them to be disappointed in a broken toy on day two! I also don't like the idea of loading up their economies with loads of plastic and unnecessary rubbish. But on the other hand, I don't have a lot of money to spend so that's where uncostly comes into it. In past years I've managed to do Shoe Boxes for around $20 each (so $30 including a postage donation). I figure that the more boxes I can do, the more children can be blessed to receive a gift...so I try to economise in order to help more kids. But there is always a tug between the two. If I could afford to, I'd be doing 24 boxes a year, that would include handmade clothes, wooden toys, and a whole year's worth of stationery (okay, so that wouldn't fit in a Shoe Box, but I can always dream!). But I don't. As it is, I will probably have to come up with some creative ways to fund this 'hobby' over the next couple of years as we really don't have the money for it these days. Hmmm...