Just Imagine

Toys & Play with everyday materials

Authored by Sudarshan Khanna, Gita Wolf, Anushka Ravishankar
Illustrated by Priya Sundram
Published by Tara Books

Inspired by traditional folk toy-makers in India, this book is the result of workshops with children making their own toys. That in itself is enticing, but what really makes it are the short essays. Aimed at parents and educators, they focus on issues surrounding the importance of play.

There are 23 toys to make and all, as promised, use everyday materials. In fact some only need paper and scissors, great for those worried about sourcing materials for a whole class. Similar to the sycamore seed pods, my favourite is the ‘Retpocileh’. One of the noisy toys, as the name suggests, is The Screech; mine sounded like a velociraptor trying to whistle. The writers comment that although this toy doesn’t appear to have any pedagogical merit, the children in their workshop came up with 25 reasons that it was.

Above all, the essays are the highlight for me, making it into a proper teaching resource. They touch on a range of issues including tradition, gender, and technology. These will be sure to inspire teachers into considering more imaginative learning and play in the classroom.

To sum up, this is a great resource for both adults and children, perfect for any primary classroom or teacher’s bookshelf.