Build A Toy Maze

Learn how to build a toy using this simple wood and wire maze design that’ll keep young hands and minds happily occupied.

| November/December 1987

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    Diagram: Insert 1/8 inch welding red in brake line for kink-free bending.
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    Build this simple toy for hours for creative fun.
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    Diagram: Mitey maze frame.
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    Diagram: Achieve smooth curves by bending rod by hand or around cylindrical objects.
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    Diagram: Anchor rod in wood by inserting 6d nail in 1/16-inch hole.

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  • mitey maze opener
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Build a toy maze using these easy-to-make instructions to create a homemade toy your children will love. 

How to Build A Toy Maze

Toward the end of the first year of life, a child climbs up on two feet and achieves real mobility. Whole new worlds become open to explore. Stairs develop a magnetic attraction. Drawers and kitchen cabinets offer breathtaking gymnastic possibilities. Soon, though, curiosity overwhelms the singular thrill of movement, and the utterly fascinating objects that lie at the top of those stairs, inside those drawers and behind those cabinet doors attract attention.

Efforts to master fine motor skills mark a major phase in a child's development. Between the first and second years, interest in small objects comes to absorb as much as 20% of a youngster's waking hours. At this age, visual acuity is refined, but manual dexterity lags behind. Thus, organizing play for children one to two years old requires a careful balance between encouraging curiosity and avoiding frustration.

First comes the ability to move an object to a desired location. Then the child shifts the item's orientation for inspection. In short order, he or she will learn to manipulate small articles by moving fingers independently of one another. And by the end of the phase—at 24 to 36 months—most children can produce a continual rotating motion to unthread a screw.

Toys for Toddlers

Between the first and second years, children really don't need to be provided with many toys. They find their own from an assortment of ordinary household objects. Plastic cups, wooden spoons, balls and metal bowls that nest are just a few examples of common items that many children enjoy playing with.

What toys adults provide should be carefully chosen to suit youngsters' skills and to be safe. Dennis Burkholder has put his imagine and ample experience with toddlers together to come up with a very suitable ex ample. Blocks that slide on wires allow a child to move colorful objects from one location to another with gratifying twists, turns and drops along the way. Movements are directed but varied—well suited for someone with emerging manual dexterity.



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