I try to make easy and inexpensive toys for our small friends every year for the holidays.Last year it was silk scarves, which I bought in white and dyed (this was so much fun, I need to make make more, it was really easy and very cheap and the kids *loved* them) and this year I made these music/ rattle/wand/hippie things. I am so happy with them. They are straight out of the Renaissance fair.
I bought wood dowels (I like bass better than balsa, if you can find them, it's a bit harder wood, and splits less) drilled tiny holes with this superb hand drill, threaded thin wire through, added the bells and wood beads, and the twisted the wire around and then added the ribbons. This project is in this book, The Children's Year . What is nice about this book is it has really basic illustrations and not a ton of instruction, more of an idea book really, so you can come up with your own variations/look easily.
I am really getting into the wood dowel toy thing. But, I have to report the bead at the end of the magic wand fell off. I think I need to either drill and screw it in, or skip it. And I wanted to add painted stripes to these guys above, but I know too many beaver children-like my own, who look at a stick of wood and think it's food. (what is up with that?)