Can you make an i-pod?

Their homemade i-pods have all the tunes they want.

Can you make an i-pod? Well actually yes, and so can my friends here – ranging from two nursery-going three-year-old boys up to a 12-year-old girl.

We were having a BBQ to celebrate the hot weather, the weekend and general joie de vivre which turned into a bit more of a celebration for me as the first copy of my book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children had arrived that morning, an unbeatable feeling. This post is by Nicola Baird (back left in the pic).

So inbetween the BBQ food plus chasing around the house, dressing up, watching Dr Who (a non-negotiable for some of the older children), fishing in the pond and doing a play I asked the kids to make their own i-pod. Just like the one the teddy on the cover is using.

What was amazing was seeing how Billy’s idea to fix on a speaker with a proper ear bud (she knotted some string) transformed a bit of card into the real thing. So when we took this snap the kids’ homemade i-pods were playing Lola by the Kinks, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, Paparazzi by Lady Gaga, some Bollywood hits and a number of Abba favourites. Every child was nodding their head and singing along to the music – except when they pressed pause to hear what their friends were saying.

I made this myself.

“It’s just like having an imaginary dog,” said Lola, 11, who has just been reading Just in Case by Meg Rosoff which stars a furry imaginary friend – a greyhound, Boy. My partner Pete joined this surreal conversation late and said he used to listen to seashells and had always believed that was the way to hear the sea. “But you can hear the sea from a seashell,” was the outraged answer from me and our two daughters. You can, can’t you? So surely he’ll be able to hear Graham Parker and Ian Dury on a homemade i-pod?

Make your own i-pod
(Possibly saving £40 or more & a lot of parent-child conflict. This activity is very quick and hard to make messy, but it may keep your child and their friend/s entertained for some time)
1 Cut out a rectangle of approximately the right size from the back of a packet of cereal (or similar)

2 Using the clean side draw on the appropriate squiggles with a thick, dark pen to get the shuffle, classic, nano or most up-to-date look. Use the cover of Homemade Kids for inspiration!

3 Either sellotape a piece of string (we used orange garden twine) to the back, or poke a hole through the top right side of your i-pod and knot to secure.

4 Knot the end of the string to create an ear bud.

5 Then select your favourite tunes and you’re ready to rock.

What objects have you noticed your children trying to copy?
Do they pretend to be on the phone or have they made their own phones? Back in 2000 on my last holiday by plane (!) I noticed how many children in Zimbabwe played with 4-wheel drive trucks made from Coke cans and a bit of wire. And a favourite toddler story, Elizabeti’s Doll (based on the writers’ time in Kenya) is about a little girl who wanted a doll so much she turned a river rock into her special friend.

There’s a lot of joy to be had making something, or at least having a go designing it, before you pop to the shops – or log on – and get it for your child.

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