Not long ago, the American Girl doll company added a doll with disabilities and accessories like wheelchairs, crutches, and other relevant items in miniature to represent children with disabilities in their popular, ever-growing family. Barbie’s friend, Becky, uses a wheelchair, too. But why overspend on those accessories when you can save money and have fun creating them yourself?
Crafting is enjoying a resurgence these days—it’s a way for people to reconnect with an analog world that we’re losing in this information age where computers and the Internet rule the day. Ironically, many of the resources people find for crafting ideas and training are, in fact, on the Internet.
For children with disabilities, crafting can help them to connect to the world in a special way. Few, if any, dolls which could be seen as representative of people with disabilities are featured on the market, leading to self-image problems as children wonder why they can’t be like other kids, or why nobody produces toys that appeal to them.
There are, however, crafting resources out there which can help children to recapture that sense of self. YouTube channel My Froggy Stuff has produced a series of videos describing how to make various disability-related accessories for dolls. My Froggy Stuff considers themselves to be “extreme crafters,” and their projects are stunning, easy, and fun to make.
Featured here are videos for creating a doll wheelchair, crutches, and even a full hospital room. These videos require easily acquired items, many of which can be found around the house, such as duct tape, cardboard, 3-ring binders, glue, colorful card stock, old CDs or DVDs, felt, craft foam, plastic coat hangers, and other everyday items. One of the videos even includes instructions for building a doll’s wheelchair almost entirely out of paper!
The instructions are clear and simple, and while kids will need adult supervision (one video requires using sharp scissors to punch holes in plastic bottle caps, for example), they should be easy enough for most children to follow, with the help of mom or dad. The projects are innovative and clever, and should keep children invested in creating more mobility devices and play sets for their dolls. Creating these crafts offers a child with a disability dolls with accessories and play sets that mirror their own daily circumstances, and it’s an excellent way for parents and children to spend some delightful bonding time together.
My Froggy Stuff maintains a YouTube channel with the embedded videos and more, and they have an active blog, which includes how-to’s and crafting resources for boys and girls. The videos below demonstrate how to craft two different kinds of wheelchairs, crutches, and a hospital room. If you take on the crafting challenge, send us some photos of your work, and we’ll post them!