We didn't have much money when I was growing up.  We didn't have the expensive toys that a lot of kids had, but we didn't go without either. My parents did the best they could and that was good enough. I had a very happy childhood. We did have to get a little creative though. Sometimes we made our own toys. I made a list of things I played with as a kid that most people wouldn't even consider toys. I came up with my top 5.

5. Cow Pies

Todd holding cow chip from Kraft Farms in Fort Collins
Jenny Harding, For TSM

I know what you are thinking. A cow pie is not a toy and shouldn't be, but we still played with them when we were young.  Just make sure it is dry before you turn it into a Frisbee. I am not saying I could have won the World Cow Chip Throwing Contest but I could make those suckers fly and they were fun to throw at my sisters.  Do you know how hard it is to find a cow chip in Fort Collins? Thanks to Kraft Farms for providing me with the cow chip I am holding in the picture above.

4. Potato Sacks

Sack Race With Potato Sacks at Camp Kno-Koma
Camp Kno-Koma via YouTube

I always looked forward to the sack race on our annual Field Day in Holyoke. It was the one event I would usually win. Put me in a potato sack and I had springs like a kangaroo.  If they ever would have mad it an Olympic event I would have a few medals by now, but alas, I got bad knees and my sack racing career came to an abrupt end. If you have never seen a sack race, check out the Youtube video from Camp Kno-Koma.

3. Shoe Box

dansko Shoe Box
Todd Harding, TSM

It's no secret my wife has a shoe problem, so we have hundreds of shoe boxes in our house. Whenever I see a shoe box I am reminded of how I used them when I was a kid. Every box was a different kind of car. My G.I. Joe drove a Jeep shoe Box. My sister's Barbie Dolls would drive a Corvette shoe box. When my wife and I got our two cats 18-years-ago, one of their favorite things was to take rides in my shoe box cars. I would even make the car sounds. By the way, a shoe box travels much better on carpet than wood floors or tile.

2. Inner Tube Slingshot

Inner Tube Slingshot
Paul Bowerman via YouTube

I was always trying to make a good sling shot when I was a kid. The wood part was easy. You just needed a strong branch that came to a Y and pocket knife to carve it, when kids were still allowed to have pocket knives.  It was harder to find something stretchy and strong enough to shoot a rock. We found out by process of elimination that a cut up inner tube worked pretty darn good. This YouTube video shows how to make one:

1. Corncob Dart

We had lots of corn growing up. My Uncle farmed three circles of corn, so we always had tons of corn cobs. We also had lots of chickens, so we had plenty of feathers. A corn cob won't fly very far at all, but stick a couple chicken feathers in it an it will fly like a paper airplane.  I went out to my cousin's place in Ault and got a few Guinea feathers and corn cobs and made myself a corn cob dart. I used to play with these for hours. Watch the YouTube video above to see how it works!

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