Coleman Jnr has learned from an early age that we are not going to go and buy him new toys all that often. Most things the kids recieve from us are either secondhand or handmade, and we figure that between that and all the usual Birthday and Christmas presents they get from friends and family that's certainly enough!!
Rather then ask us to buy him new things, Coleman Jnr often makes his own toys. We had a "making box" for months (which looked very similar to the contents of most recycling bins) in which he collected materials to make cars, trains, lifts, buildings and all sorts of other things. The playroom did start to look like a dump, but it was hard not to be pleased with his willingness to "make do" and his ability at such a young age to recognise the value in recyling and being creative. He was very proud of his efforts and did actually use the toys he made.
Now he has moved away from the toilet rolls, milk cartons and masking tape, and is sewing up "bed friends" that can keep him company at night, at school or wherever. Most of the toys he sews are Mr. Men characters (the current obsession) but he has branched out and tried a variety of ABC4Kids characters (I think it's time I admit to myself that our kids DO watch TV!)
Coleman Jnr is a pretty darn good hand sewer (I was determined that sewing wouldn't be a "girly" thing that I would only pass down to my daughter) and he's getting pretty good at using the foot pedal on Mr. Janome now too. It's just like driving a car and using an accelerator, what little boy wouldn't love it!?