Toys of the World Celebrate Power of Play

"<b

(NewsUSA) – For most children in the United States, finding a toy with which to play is hardly a hardship. A trip to the toy store with some allowance money, or a holiday or birthday, provides plenty of action figures, model cars, dolls, talking robots and video games.

But many children in developing countries around the world cannot afford to buy any toys — and these children often show ingenuity and creativity in making their own toys.

To celebrate the power of play, ChildFund International has created a touring exhibition titled, “The Power to Play: From Trash to Treasure,” which displays 350 handcrafted toys created by children around the world. Some of the toys are easily recognizable, like soccer balls and kites. Others are unique to their place of origin, or reveal the social, economic and political conditions in which their makers are growing up.

“Our traveling exhibition highlights the resourcefulness and creativity of the children who created the toys,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International. “Thousands of viewers will gain new appreciation for the power of play and its role in childhood development.”

Play proves essential to children’s healthy development, helping kids solve problems, test new ideas and gain friendships. So, what kind of toys can viewers expect to see? Warsito and Ade of Central Java, Indonesia make stilts to play a popular game, called “egrang.”

“It’s an exciting and unique game, and I love playing it,” says Warsito. “You can tell when a child is an expert in playing this game. He or she must have a good sense of balance and high skill to play it.”

Tyrel of Dominica has made his own toys since age eight. “I loved playing with toys, but my parents were not always able to afford them, and the ones that they occasionally bought did not hold together for long.”

Nollan, a 13-year-old from Honduras, fashions a toy called “The Trapeze Artist,” which he makes once a year and often lends to siblings and friends.

These unique toys are just a few examples of the types of items in ChildFund International’s Power to Play exhibit, which will be traveling to major museums and other locations across the United States through 2011.

For more information about the exhibit, or to learn how you can improve the life of a child in need, visit www.childfund.org.