Toy Making and Resourcefulness

Author: Susan Buckner

Grade Level: Early Elementary


1. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of resourcefulness by making a toy and describing how they were resourceful.

2. Students will be able to find Malawi on a map and tell the interesting things about the book Galimoto.

Materials Needed:

1. Williams, Karen Lynn. Galimoto. Illustrated by Catherine Stock. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1990. ISBN 0-688-10991-8.

2. To prepare, you will need to gather materials to make toys. For each table of 4 to 6 students, have materials ready in a brown paper bag. Some suggestions to put in the bag are a garbage can, empty cans, pencils, rulers, boxes, plastic bags, string, cardboard, rubber bands, scotch tape, bells.

3. Map of Africa

4. Africa worksheet.


1. Show the book Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams and define galimoto. "Galimoto (GAL-lee-moe-toe) means motorcar in Chichewa (che-CHAY-wah), the national language of Malawi (Ma-LA-wee) in Africa."

2. Find Malawi on the map. Give some information about Malawi from background that you think your students might be interested in. Some suggested highlights:

  • Malawian describe themselves as "the friendliest people of Africa."
  • Most of the people live in rural areas, meaning they live in the country not the city. Most of the people are farmers.
  • Lake Malawi is the 3rd largest lake in Africa and 13th in the world.
  • Tell how galimoto comes from our word "motorcar" said backwards -- "car motor". Chichewa interchanges r and l . It's possible that they interchange c and g, too. Plus, all the syllables need to end in a vowel sound.

3. Read the book Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams to the class, showing the pictures.

4. Tell the class that "resourceful" means being able to find different ways to solve problems. Ask your class, "How was Kondi able to find wires throughout his village to make his toy?" Then, "How is this being resourceful?" Other possible questions are: "What do you do to be resourceful?" "How are the ways you are resourceful like Kondi?" "What can be do to be more resourceful?"

5. Explain that each child, or teams of two or three people, will make a toy like Kondi did using the things they can find around the classroom.

  • Have the bags of materials accessible.
  • Have your students sit in groups of 4 to 6 people with working space.
  • Explain that the toys they are going to make need to be able to do something and they need to explain how they would play with it.
  • Have one student come up from each table to get their supplies.
  • Give then a time limit. I would give each group about a half-hour to brainstorm and come up with possible toys they can make. Then they need to decide who in their group is going to make the different toys. As soon as they have a plan, allow them to get to work on their toy.
  • Making the toy should only take about a half-hour too. Ask the students if they need more time.



1. Share their toy and explain what they have learned about being resourceful.

2. Give the student a map of Africa and have them color in Malawi. Have then then write two things they learned from the book Galimoto.


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