This section is from the book "How To Help The Shut-In Child: 313 Hints For Homebound Children", by Margery D. McMullin. Also available from Amazon: How To Help The Shut-In Child: 313 Hints For Homebound Children.
123. Its a known fact that some of the most popular playthings come from the kitchen. Give your young child a double boiler and a potato masher and see how absorbed he will be.
124. Two pie tins to bang together will be noisy for you but fun for your child.
125. Various-shaped cookie cutters are easy objects for a small child to handle and trace around. The patterns he traces are ideal for coloring.
126. A bathtub hose makes a wonderful telephone. The child can have long conversations by holding the spray end to his mouth and the nozzle end to his ear (or vice versa). If you happen to overhear some of these conversations, you'll have a chuckle or two.
127. Be sure to save every scrap of colored cellophane. Viewing the scenery through colored cellophane is a pleasant pastime.
128. An hourglass or an old-fashioned egg timer can be interesting to watch. Such watching is useful for a child who is tired and does not feel like doing anything.
129. Why not make a clock? Easy enough if the face and hands are cut from cardboard and the numerals clipped from newspapers or magazines. Round-headed paper fasteners will hold the hands on and allow for turning.
130. A boy with an urge to take things apart might be given an old or broken alarm clock to dismember to his heart's content. But remind him that not ALL clocks are to be taken apart I
131. A small girl might enjoy making ribbon bows of different colors for her hair. She can tie them to bobby pins; for fancier ones make double bows, or bows of two colors.
132. Face up to the fact that children like to use Mother's lipstick, not always too wisely! But if you make a mask of dull-finish oilcloth to put over the face, with holes cut out for eyes, nose and mouth, the child can make up to his or her heart's content.
133. Does your little girl like to use nail polish? Then why not cut out the shape of her hand in oilcloth, draw in the fingernails, and let her go to work with the polish.
134. Christmas idea! Use old electric light bulbs for tree decorations. Paint them with shiny enamel paint, tie a ribbon around the screw-in part; and attach a loop of string to hang them on the tree. Saving bulbs should start the first of the year, so that a goodly supply will be on hand in time for Christmas.
135. Secret messages may be written on a piece of paper. Use a clean old-fashioned pen and lemon juice or milk. When the paper is held over a radiator or light bulb, the heat will bring out the message.
136. For "secret messages" for an older child, how about learning the Morse Code? Once learned, it can be signaled in all sorts of ways: with a flashlight, flags, whistles, as well as with a telegraph set. Even a washboard and a clothespin may be used: for dots, give the board a short, sharp tap; for dashes, draw the clothespin across the ribs of the washboard with a long stroke. The code is as follows:
137. Many boys like to tie and knot string and rope. A few feet of clothesline would be especially good for a child with limited muscular control. Large but light cord or twine can be used by a child with full use of his hands.
138. The next time you serve a melon, wash and dry the seeds thoroughly. They make very pretty necklaces when strung. Watermelon seeds are the easiest to handle, because they are the largest, but the others can be managed, too, with a little patience and practice.
139. For stringing smaller things (such as melon seeds), dental floss is strong and sturdy.
140. Since the metal tips make them easy to manage, shoelaces are excellent stringing materials for the younger set.
141. Buttons and empty spools of thread are good to use for stringing. The spools can be colored with crayon or paint and hung around the room for decoration.
142. Don't forget that it's fun for a child to use your pinking shears now and then instead of regular scissors.
143. Many of the activities described elsewhere in this book can be used when your child has a young visitor. But have in mind a few specific company occupations.
144. Jacks is a good game to play with a friend. Besides the jacks and a small ball, a large bed table or board is needed-preferably one with an upturned edge.
145. Another good playmate game is a "Toothpick Tower. " All that's needed is an empty soda bottle and a box of toothpicks. Each player in turn tries to place as many toothpicks as possible across the top of the bottle without knocking any of the others off. Colored toothpicks can be used, each child taking a certain color.
146. If your little girl likes to sew, a good get-together for her and her friends would be a "sewing bee. " This can be a simple gathering with a couple of friends, or a real party, with invitations and refreshments.
147. A boy can have a similar gathering with friends who like to make model airplanes, work on stamp collections, etc.