Homemade Goody Bag: Galimoto

Amie’s birthday is coming up and so is her party. We always do small parties at home with homemade cake and games. For many years we’ve asked the guests not to bring presents, but then I noticed how proud and happy Amie always is to give her present to her friends when it’s their party. So this year Amie will get presents.

That also means we are making goody bags for all the guests (5 kids). This concept of goody bags was new to me. In Belgium the guests get the gift of giving. In India, where DH is from,  the birthday child gets the gift of giving. In neither case is there this reciprocity.

So, what to give in the goody bag? I will not get the pencils from China with the broken leads or the cheap cosmetics that seem de rigeur in girl’s goody bags. And what kind of games to play? We’ll definitely do a treasure hunt because the cake will, again, disappear (this is Tradition), but pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and pass-the-parcel are getting old. Why not combine the two challenges?


A month or so ago, at our landfill’s Give-and-Take, a place where much goodness is up fro grabs, we found the little guy on the right. It’s a galimoto bicyclist. Amie wheeled it into a store after picking it up and it charmed everyone! So the idea is that each kid gets one of these skeletons and lots of materials to dress it up. Each kid will have a grownup to help her out. It will keep them sweet for at least an hour and it will be their goody.

Galimotos are cheap, ingenious toys with movable parts (here the legs move up and down as the wheels turn) that are frequently made by children in Africa.  Ingenious is the word! Challenging too. Today I replicated it once (toy on the right). Took me two hours, aching fingertips and it still needs fine-tuning. But I also got to listen to Tristan and Isolde.  And I canned some apple sauce while I was at it.



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  1. Hi, love your blog!! I’m a teacher in West Linn, Oregon and I was wondering. Would you be willing to guide me through how you made these Galimoto Toys? I purchased one for each of my boys and I would love to have them make a few.


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