They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it's how how Marikina-based Apples del Rosario found herself making toys for her sons.
“My son, Gabby, was bugging me to buy him more Angry Birds [toy] sets to add to his current ones. Honestly, I found it too expensive so I decided to make some myself,” the mom of two told SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview via email.
Angry Birds toy sets resemble the game app wherein the player catapaults an “angry bird” to knock down towers put up by their nemesis, the green bug-eyed pigs. Here’s what the store-bought set looks like, which retails on Amazon for P1,800.
And's here’s a photo of Apples' finished DIY set. The design above isn’t far from Apples’ DIY set below, right? Dare we say the DIY set even looks more fun than the original with its colorful pieces and different-sized boxes.
Apples proudly shared the set only costs her around P150 to make -- that's P1,850 in savings! Just goes to show how far a little creativity and resolve can take you.
According to Apples, the toy pieces are made from inexpensive puzzle cardboard blocks she found at the toy store. She covered them in brown art paper and scribbled a few lines to make them look like wood. “Then, I cut up white cardboard to make the TNT signs and numbers to represent scores and attached it to the blocks,” Apples said. “The hollow block in the center where the king pig sits is made from an old broken picture frame that I also wrapper in brown art paper.” Eight-year-old Gabby already owned the plastic pieces.
A pediatrician by profession, Apple is currently a stay-at-home mom and counts herself lucky that her husband Gary, who is a surgeon, "took full responsibility of providing for the family." She adds, “I’m thankful that because of his hard work and perseverance I am able to stop working for a while.”
Kuya to Gabby is 10-year-old Miguel, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 4. “He is nonverbal that is why it is very difficult to leave him under the sole supervision of a nanny. Gabby helps watch over his Kuya,” shared Apples. “Miguel is sweet, well-mannered, and funny. He loves music, arts and crafts,” she added, which may be part of the reason why family bonding includes making DIY projects.
“It all started when the boys were in preschool and projects and costumes where often asked,” said Apples. For a school project, for example, the kids and mom were inspired to make something from Gabby’s love of Star Wars. They ended up transforming a trash can into a toy model of R2D2!
Cut-up styrofoam was attached to the table trash can’s body to serve as the robot’s legs, and details like pieces of colorful foil and foam paper were. “We used double sided tape to make the pieces stick because I remember we initially used hot glue, but it melted the styrofoam,” said Apples.
DIY crafts also livened up the little Star Wars fan’s swimming party for his birthday. He had themed-snacks like Vader-ade sports drink, Yoda Soda, Princess Lays potato chips, Padawan Puffs cheese puffs and TIE Fighter biscuits (biscuit sandwiches with marshmallows in between). R2D2 made another appearance this time as a water dispenser!
“While swimming, they played with pool noodles, which I made into lightsabers by using duct tape and silver packing tape,” Apples shared.
On another occasion that warranted costumes, Miggy went as a firefighter complete with a firetruck that mom made. “Since Miggy is a child with a special needs, he gets bothered by tags and belts, and too tight clothes. So during the school’s Halloween party we chose a fireman costume because it was easy for him to wear,” said the mom. The coat and hat were purchased from a store to ensure comfort, but the materials used for the truck were, again, fairly inexpensive: a cardboard box for the body and colorful paper and felt for the details.
For another project, inspiration came from both of the boys. “Gabby likes Minions. Miguel loves playing bowling. Mommy likes lychee drinks so that’s where the bottles come from!” Apples said of the family’s Minions bowling pins project.
The painting was all the kids’ handiwork (with a little guidance from mom), and all Apples had to do was print the eyes and cut out the mouths.
“It doesn't matter if they color or paint out of the lines, if they can't cut neat lines or paste things straight. It doesn't have to perfect. It's the time spent together that they will cherish and remember forever.”
Apples playfully told us her sole art training came from being a member of the school art club. But she has fallen in love with craft time because of the experience her sons get without ever feeling like it's a lesson they need to learn. “They get to learn about patience (when waiting for paint or glue to dry), resourcefulness (when using materials already available at home), creativity, teamwork and hard work. Finished projects also give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It saves me a few hundred pesos, too,” she mused.
A family portrait of the del Rosarios! Want to share your family’s story with us? Send us a message via our Facebook page!