The best toys for very small children are large spoons and small pots with lids. For larger children, plaster of Paris can be colored with finger paint and molded into chalk sticks. The cheapest sled for small children is a corrugated pasteboard box; it will slide nearly as well on grass as on snow. For older children, a truck inner tube is fun on snow.
A toy that kept children amused for hours was the disk buzzer, which consists of a large button or a thin disk of wood with two holes in it; a string is looped through the holes, and the ends are tied together. One finger on each hand is hooked through the loops and the disk is twirled to wind it up. When the hands are forced apart and then relaxed, the string unwinds and rewinds while the disk spins with a buzzing sound. A hummer is a thin piece of wood about 6 in. long and 2 in. wide; it is whirled around in a circle with a string through a hole in one end. A tailless kite has a thin vertical stick 4 ft long, a bowed horizontal stick 3 ft long, a covering of light paper, a harness string attached to the top and bottom of the vertical stick, and a kite string tied to the harness string slightly above the balance point.
In earlier times, boys made spring whistles by bruising (tapping) and twisting the bark off of tulip poplar branches; the girls made dolls from fall corn shucks.