Friday 30 October, 2020

5 toys Saint Lucians used to make as children

catapult or slingshot

catapult or slingshot

Kids nowadays have access to the latest phones, tablets and toys but our parents and grandparents had to depend on their imagination and creativity for playtime.

In the process, they came up with many innovative games and toys, learning coordination skills, teamwork and social interaction. Here are five toys St Lucian children made:

  1. Kites – Sunny days were the best days for flying kites. These were fashioned sometimes from paper, scraps of cloth or cut up plastic bags with bamboo spines. Attached to the kite was long tails made from colourful cloth or plastic that made a sweet rustling sound in the breeze. The whole thing was tied to a piece of cord usually stolen from mom’s roll of sewing thread, with the aim of flying yours much higher than that of your friends while avoiding the tangle of trees and utility wires.


  1. Slingshot/catapult – This one was used as either a toy or a weapon depending on who you asked. It was made from a strong Y-shaped branch cut to a handheld size and attached to a sling made out of rubber bands or even the inner rubber lining of a discarded bicycle wheel. A smooth stone formed the perfect weapon for the completed slingshot. It was often used to shoot birds, knock down hard to reach fruit, or take aim at each other during play.


  1. Caboway – Racing with your caboway was fun wasn’t it? These were mini vehicles made of wood complete with wooden wheels or soft drink bottle caps as wheels, a long stick with a rope wrapped around it which was used as the steering wheel and sometimes painted or names added to the front or sides. They were made in the form of pickup vans or monster trucks. Some can still be found in the communities during Jounen Kweyol.


  1. Paper planes - How many of you have destroyed nearly half a notebook just to make paper planes? For one, it didn’t take long to learn the technique, and once you did, you could fashion any number of air plane designs for endless hours of flying.


  1. Bottle Stopper Zinger - This consists of a metal bottle cap that is hammered flat and dangerously sharpened. After boring two holes in the cap, a piece of cord is passed through the holes and spun in a wild rotating motion with the objective of cutting the other person’s cord. Of course, it was often sharp enough to leave cuts on the players before the game objective was achieved. But when has the risk of getting hurt ever stopped a child from playing?

Honorable mentions – The tire with the stick, fishing guns, wire phones.

Can you think of any other toy you made as a child?


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