It all started with a random thought I had – wouldn’t it be nice to have a steering wheel attached to the child car seat? The child could then pretend to drive during a road trip..How fun!
I googled for images of a child car seat steering wheel and found only a handful of such toys. One image caught my eye, it was more than a steering wheel-it was the entire car dashboard, with the speedometer, fuel gauge and even the gear stick! On closer inspection, this pretend car dashboard was completely DIY. That did the trick, I was hooked.. I must make one!
So how was it made? I found out that the dashboard was made from scrap material (cardboard, plastic jar caps) linked together by Makedo, a connector system designed in Australia. Visiting their blog revealed a whole bunch of interesting things people have made.. Including a cardboard iron man costume!
The kits can be purchased online (they ship to Singapore) but I decided to find the local distributor and emailed them to find out where I could find this toy. In 24 hours, I was home with a tube of 165 Makedo parts (and $48.90 poorer).
Here is what the Makedo connector system is all about-
- A safe-saw to cut through and punch holes through cardboard.
- Re-clips to attach materials together (basically a zip tie / cable tie with a detachable washer)
- A lockable hinge to create a movable part or two pieces of cardboard attached at an angle to each other.
Next I begged a cardboard box from the supermarket.. And I was all set to go! Being imaginatively barren, I decided to start simple, with a playhouse for Samantha.
The only problem was..it wasn’t very stable at all!! It kept flopping over and it looked like a cardboard slum, totally not like what I had imagined before.
So I recruited the help of my Dad and we made version 2 of Samantha’s playhouse (complete with windows)..and it was a hit! Samantha was soon crawling in and out of the playhouse, playing chase and peekaboo with us and her toy dogs. It was a really good activity that resulted in quality family bonding time between my Dad, Samantha and myself, and we had loads of fun making the playhouse and subsequently playing with it.
The good thing about Makedo is that when you get bored of your current toy, you can take your construction apart and make something new out of the same materials. It is both This is environmentally friendly and pocket friendly (for as long as your child loves to play with cardboard boxes).
Subsequently I added a tile/brick pattern wallpaper to some parts of the house and my dad added a flashing LED fireplace.
I did have a few comments (which are actually not product flaws but just my own personal complaints)-
- The safe-saw doesn’t cut through cardboard as cleanly as I expected it to. But since this saw is meant to be safe for kids to handle, I think it is a fair trade-off.
- My 165-part ‘Kit for three’ was almost used up to make the playhouse. If I wanted to make a larger project, I think I will need to buy more sets.
- The ends of the re-clips tend to be a little pokey. To clarify, it doesn’t hurt an adult if you were to jam your hand into the clip, but I’m not so sure if unsuspecting babies or toddlers can be injured by these bits. That being said, Makedo sets are actually recommended only for ages 5 and up, so if you follow the age advisory there should be absolutely no issue at all!
The Makedo sets are priced from S$20 to S$50 (depending on the number of pieces in the set) and can be purchased from:
- Toy tag (Harbourfront Centre)
- The collector (Funan Digitalife Mall)
- Times The Bookshop stores
- Makedo website (it’s more expensive than if you buy it from the local shops)