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Toys Made Of Common Kindling Wood

Just a glance at a pile of ordinary every-day kindling wood could hardly suggest to one the possibilities existing in the crude material for building all sorts of interesting and realistic things for the little folks, but experiment and you will find that Klondike log-houses, rail-fences and lumber camps, bridges, and substantial little rafts which will float on water in laundry or bath tub, pond or stream, can be easily and readily built from the little sticks we use to start our fires.

Let us build

The Bridge

first, that Indians and men may cross the water to the lumber region beyond, and cut logs for their rafts .

Fig. 125—The little bridge built of kindling wood. Fig. 125—The little bridge built of kindling wood.

Select two sticks of kindling wood as near of a size as you can find, and lay them side by side, a short distance apart; then connect the two by placing sticks across the ends, log-cabin fashion. These four sticks form the square foundation of one bridge pier.

Continue building by crossing the second layer of sticks with a third layer, the third layer with a fourth layer, and so on until the pier is built up sufficiently high, six or more layers, according to the thickness of the sticks. As you build be sure that the two sticks forming each layer lie absolutely steady and are of about the same thickness, that those built on top of them may not slant, but lie level and steady.

All sticks should be of the same length, but the layers may vary in thickness; one layer of sticks might be thin and the next thick; it matters not, provided that the two forming the same layer are nearly of a size.

When the first pier is finished, build a second one like it a short distance from the first one, and lay a strip of stiff pasteboard, cut from an old box, across from pier to pier; then lay a second strip of pasteboard from one pier to the ground, a third strip from the remaining pier to the ground on the opposite side . If you wish, the two end strips can be longer than those shown in the photograph, and slant from the piers down to the ground on a level with the water. The banks in the photograph are built up with boxes and covered with green cloth.

For each of the two archways, take two thin sticks of wood and stand them at the top outward edge of the pier, with ends braced together at the top, and spread out at the bottom, as in the photograph.

Use either natural or tissue-paper trees stuck into empty spools for foliage, or little toy trees, if you happen to have them among the children's store toys.

Though the bridge is not intended to be over real water, you might try the experiment and strengthen the hollow piers by filling them with stones, when building the bridge out-of-doors.

Fig. 126—Kindling-wood rafts that will float on real water. Fig. 126—Kindling-wood rafts that will float on real water.

shows two little

Kindling-Wood Rafts

which will float on real water. Have the slender sticks for the raft all of the same length, and use about sixteen or eighteen sticks for each raft. Weave them together with a string. Begin by tying the centre of a long string around each end of a stick, which should be about eight inches in length .

Fig. 127—Begin the raft in this way. Fig. 127—Begin the raft in this way.
Fig. 128—Lay a second stick up against the tie. Fig. 128—Lay a second stick up against the tie.

Place one end of a second stick up against one tie, allowing one string to come over and the other string under the second stick . Cross the two lengths of the string over the second stick, bringing the lower string up and the upper string down ; then lay another stick up against the crossed strings, carrying the strings in turn over this stick . Again, bring the lower string up and the upper string down, before placing another stick. Continue crossing the string and adding kindling wood until the raft is of the desired length. Tie the ends of the string securely on the last stick, and weave the opposite loose ends of the sticks together in the same way, tying the string firmly together on the last stick. Clip off the ends of the string and the raft will then be ready for the water, and will carry either passengers or freight.

Fig. 129—Cross the strings around the second stick. Fig. 129—Cross the strings around the second stick.
Fig. 130—Cross the strings around the third stick. Fig. 130—Cross the strings around the third stick.

Put up log-houses for the toy people to live in. Select two different lengths of kindling wood for

The Houses

that the buildings may be longer one way than the other. They will look better and be more comfortable than if square.

Place two long sticks of kindling wood a short distance apart and running parallel; across these sticks lay two shorter ones, bridging the space at each end between the long sticks, then place two long sticks over the ends of the two short ones; keep building in this way until the little house is seven or eight layers high.

Fig. 131—A Klondike settlement with dog train and sledge. Fig. 131—A Klondike settlement with dog train and sledge.

Cut a piece of white cardboard or light-weight pasteboard the length of the house, and wider than the width of the house, to allow for the slant of the roof. Bend the roof lengthwise through the centre and lay it on top of the house . Make a door of stiff pasteboard painted or covered with a layer of brown tissue-paper pasted on the outside. Cut the door a suitable size and stand it up in front of the house.

If you want

An Arctic Scene

spread a piece of white cloth over a table for the snowy ground. Canton flannel, fleecy side up, is best, but any kind will answer the purpose. Then erect several kindling-wood houses and form a Klondike settlement .

Original home-made toy men, dogs, and sled may be used to complete the scene, or they can be cut from newspapers or old magazines. Stiffen by pasting them on cardboard; then cut out the men, dogs, and sled more carefully in detail. Bend one leg forward and one backward to make the men stand alone, and bend two legs outward and two inward to enable the dogs to stand. Paste narrow strips of paper on the dogs for harness.

Fig. 132—The Virginia rail-fence. Fig. 132—The Virginia rail-fence.

Make another kindling-wood scene like .


are peculiar to America. You cannot find them abroad, and every little boy and girl will want to know how to build one of these old-fashioned "snake" or Virginia rail-fences. The fence may be of any length, its zigzag lines can run in any direction, all the way across the room if you choose.

Fig. 133—Form a rude letter V. Fig. 133—Form a rude letter V.
Fig. 134—Across the end of the second stick place the end of a third stick. Fig. 134—Across the end of the second stick place the end of a third stick.

Lay down one piece of kindling wood, and over one end place the end of another stick, forming a rude letter V . Across the end of the second stick which rests on the ground, place the end of a third stick . Keep on building the first layer of the fence in this way until it stretches as far as you wish; then go back to the starting point and begin building the second layer of sticks, by placing a stick over the first stick, resting one end on the far end of the first stick, the other end on the top of the end of the second stick; lay another stick across over the second stick, another over the third, and so on until the second layer is finished. Build other layers in like manner, and make the fence high or low, as desired. Pile up kindling wood into a wood-pile with small pieces scattered on the ground, and if there is a toy horse you can make him haul more wood .

These kindling-wood toys will give a realistic idea of log-houses, rail-fences, log rafts, and primitive bridges, and while building them the children might be told stories of the way early settlers lived and made their homes, or the children may "make up" stories about the different scenes.


Substantial little hammocks which will hold good-sized dolls, and even a real pussy with no danger of the material breaking, can be made of ordinary kindling wood or strips of pasteboard . Both styles of hammocks are woven in the same manner. The weaving is like that used for the raft and is of the simplest, most primitive kind, merely crossing of the two ends of each side string between each piece of wood (or pasteboard) slat, with loops of string left at each end of the hammock for hanging it up. When fashioned of kindling wood, like that in the photograph, have the sticks slender and all of the same length. When made of pasteboard, cut seven-inch-wide strips from a heavy pasteboard box and cut the strips crosswise into one-half-inch slats. Have ready two long strings measuring about two and a half yards each. Double each string and tie a knot in the closed end, fifteen inches from the extreme folded end, then place your work on the top of the table, or some other flat surface where you can keep the slats flat and even. Begin to weave by laying a slat between the loose ends of each string.

Fig. 135—A substantial little hammock. Fig. 135—A substantial little hammock.

Push the slat up tight against the knots and cross the strings on the outer edge of the slat. Slide another slat between the two ends of each side string, shoving it close up against the crossed strings at the outer edge of the first slat. Bring one end of each string over and one under the second slat, cross them, and add the third slat. Continue weaving in this way until the hammock is of sufficient length, then tie the strings securely at the outer edge of the last slat.

After you have put in the last board bring the slats up very close together and draw the strings firm and tight. Tie the double lengths of string together at each end of the hammock, making two long loops by which to hang up the hammock.

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