The best toys are the ones you make yourself
by Trinity Gruenberg
Kent Scheer of Wadena captivated his audience at Faith Lutheran Church in Eagle Bend at their Advent Festival.
He showed his them a rat made from a handkerchief. He gingerly petted the rat while explaining what it was capable of. He blew in its ears and told everyone that the rat warms up as it is petted and that he was going to pass it around. Then he sent the rat flying across a table which was met by a shrill shriek followed by laughter.
Scheer is a toy maker by trade for the past 30 years and has been retired for a few years. He occasionally will venture out and teach others about 1930s era toys people can make themselves.
“During that time, I thought one of the services I could provide would be to teach today’s children some old fashioned recreation,” said Scheer.
Old fashioned recreation in the form of D.I.Y. (do it yourself) toys. He researched old fashioned homemade toys and amassed a collection of books such as Popular Science on how to make the various toys.
“If I was doing a presentation in a class, I would ask older folks in the community what they had done when they were kids, and some would teach me things,” said Scheer.
He focused on toys from the 1930s and earlier, because during that time frame, most toys were DIY. Commercial toys became popular around the 1940 and 50s.
“Kids were just presented with their play things. You can give a kid a toy and they were excited and fascinated with them. The novelty wore off in about 30 minutes before they start searching for the next toy,” explained Scheer.
“Before then they were do it yourself and they taught kids a whole lot more through the process of making it themselves. More than they will buying a plastic toy and getting bored with it,” he added.