School’s wooden toy workshop runs on old-fashioned holiday spirit

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CHICAGO -- Chances are that if you're buying a toy this Christmas you're also picking up a pack of batteries.

It's rare to see kids with classic wood toys any longer, which is why one Chicago teacher decided to bring back a little old-fashioned holiday magic to his students.

For the last three weeks, he has transformed the school's art room at Horizon Science Academy into a full-fledged toy making shop. Using their own hands — and a lot of guidance from instructor Peter Legrand — students have been making wooden boats, cars and rolling dinosaurs. Each handmade toy will be donated to a child who might not otherwise receive a gift come Christmas, making every hand-sawed plank and paint stroke feel a little special.

What they lack in experience, the young people make up for in sweat equity and spirit. Student Joshua Marooquin said he's working on a car he painted pink for a little girl.

"I like to see kids with smiles on their faces. If feel like if every kid could get on of these it would make their whole Christmas," Joshua said.

And each toy comes wrapped in an unspoken message: even the smallest hands can create something good.

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