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.
209. Scrapbooks are wonderfully creative projects. A child can develop and follow through with his hobby or special interest at little expense.
210. Use a scrapbook to teach appreciation of color. For example, give your child a magazine and see how many different shades of red, yellow, or blue he can find to put into his scrapbook. The same principle can apply to the study of textures, using pieces of cloth, leather, and other materials as samples.
211. Pictures of television performers would make a good scrapbook. Some day this might be a collectors item, especially if information is included about the performer and the program on which he appears.
212. Many pictures of famous people (and sometimes their signatures) can be found in advertisements for a scrapbook, "Hall of Fame. "
213. Keeping a simple diary, record of visitors, weather, special events, or any ideas that strike his fancy can be another interesting hobby for a child in bed.
214. How about a travel scrapbook with a map of the world for the cover? If your child is interested in some special part of the United States, the Chamber of Commerce in large cities in that part of the country will usually supply leaflets, with pictures upon request. Travel agencies, resorts, and railroads also have illustrated literature describing different sections of the United States and foreign countries.
215. What is more fascinating than to watch ants building their tunnels behind glass walls? An ant-house (called a formicary) takes little room; the ants need almost no care, and if they are in a house specially built for them, they cannot get out.
216. A hamster in a cage is entertainment for almost any child. His antics will provide endless enjoyment, and Mother will find it easy to keep this tiny pet clean and fed. Hamsters can be purchased in pet shops in any large cities.
217. Salt plants are interesting to raise. Mix together about 5 teaspoonfuls each of ordinary table salt, laundry bluing and water. Pour this mixture over a piece of coal or a clinker in a bowl and watch it grow.
218. Keeping fish is good fun and watching them is an education. But this hobby can be carried further by studying and reading about their habits and activities. An aquarium can be developed from a few goldfish to exotic tropical fish.
219. To see a lowly caterpillar blossom into a beautiful butterfly is fascinating. The next time you see a caterpillar, bring it home, along with some of the foliage on which you find it. Put it in a glass jar with a metal cover in which air holes have been punched. Your child can see the caterpillar spin his cocoon and watch for the day when it emerges as a butterfly and unfolds its wings.
220. Spring comes into the room for any child who wants to grow bulbs. Narcissi, daffodils, and tulips are a miracle reward for placing a few bulbs in a shallow dish of water and surrounding them with little stones or tiny shells.
221. Carrot tops and bird seed are easy to grow and decorative for a sickroom. Slice off a quarter inch from the top of the carrot, including about an inch of green top. Place in a shallow pan with a little water.
Scatter bird seed on a piece of blotting paper, and put in a shallow container with a little water. Be sure to keep the bottom of the dish moist.
222. To grow a sweet potato vine, put the potato in a jar filled with water so that half of the potato is in the water and half in the air.
Other plants, too, may be grown at home: from grapefruit, orange, or lemon seeds. An avocado seed makes a handsome plant but it takes a long time to sprout.
223. Tiny palm trees can be grown by your child's bed if two or three date seeds are planted in a small pot.
The pot should be half full of soil before putting the seeds in. (Be sure they are placed on their sides). Cover seeds with 0.5 inch of soil. Keep the pot in the sun as much as possible and water every other day. It will be about three weeks before the seeds sprout into miniature trees.
224. There are many books on magic. If the child's hands are not affected, he can learn to baffle his family and friends with simple tricks and become really adept with patience and practice.
225. A common complaint of the not-so-recently home-bound child is that after a time his playmates forget him. One way to solve this problem is for a child to keep in touch with his friends by means of a "Round Robin" letter. By the time the letter gets back to your child, it will be full of news. For a younger child, a "Round Robin" of pictures will serve the same purpose.
226. Needlework, fun for all ages, can become an engrossing hobby. Your small daughter might be delighted with her own tiny thimble, embroidery hoops, and a simple, stamped-cloth pattern to outline with colored thread. From a simple sampler to the most intricate elaborate designs, she can build up a worthwhile and fascinating collection of handiwork.
227. Learning how children in other parts of the world pursue their studies, hobbies, and daily lives can push out the walls of a sickroom. Youth of All Nations, Inc., 16 St. Luke's Place, New York 14, N. Y., has a well-organized program for helping young people in different parts of the world get acquainted with one another. For $1. 00 a year (membership fee) a boy or girl can "meet by mail" many friends in foreign countries and share ideas as expressed in the monthly bulletin published by the organization.
228. It is not impossible to learn drawing, sketching, painting or cartooning at home. There are numerous publications available on these subjects, anyone of which can be a lifelong hobby or profitable occupation. Instruction books may be borrowed from libraries or purchased at book or art supply stores.
229. Does your child know the art of collage? A collage is a picture made by pasting or gluing onto paper or canvas board scraps of materials of varying textures -bits of newspaper, wallpaper, feathers, colored cloth, etc. A child can create surprisingly interesting and beautiful pictures and designs.
230. If your child develops a little skill in making collage pictures, a resultant hobby might be to assemble "collage kits" for other children. He could compose these boxes-for gifts or sale-at almost no cost by collecting interesting scraps of materials: pieces of tinfoil, ribbon, newsprint, calico, cutouts from pretty cards, beads, shells, and endless other scraps and bits.
231. Photography from a bed or wheel chair? Why not? There are many possibilities for interesting still-life pictures. Everyday household items such as kitchen utensils or bric-a-brac may be arranged to give new and unusual effects.
232. If your child has the photography bug and has also done various types of handicrafts, remind him to take pictures of all the things he makes. He will enjoy having this permanent photographic record of his finished products after they are given away or put into use.