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There are a few grown-ups around who remember living a not-so-organized childhood—one in which they were in charge of a good deal of their time. There is little evidence that the boys (or girls) suffered thereby. On the contrary, what they did with their time and a few old boards and wheels was, as the concoctions here show, often pure genius and always fun. It still can be

The spars in this skate sail are made of strips of strong wood. Oak or spruce will do. The curved leading edge of sail is reinforced with a piece of bamboo, soaked in boiling water and bent to shape. Lash spars together with heavy cord, sew on a duck sail (or a bed sheet, if you can get away with one). Reinforce the sail at ends of spars with heavy canvas. Then put on your skates and let the winter winds blow.

Darts anyone? You can make your own with kitchen matches, paper, tape and a straight pin or needle. Cut off match head and tape pin to stick. If you use a needle, you can force eye end up through center of wood, so that tape is not necessary. Split other end of stick as shown and insert paper fins. Targets can easily be cut from odd pieces of cardboard.

If there are not enough players available for a pickup baseball game or the fish aren't biting, and you feel the need for some action, rig up this Slide for Life. Use the kind of pulley that opens on a hinge—sailors call it a snatch block—so you can take it off the rope at the bottom and carry it back up the tree for the next slide. For safety's sake it is better to use a double rope—and remember to bail out before you arrive at the garage.

This scooter, called a Push-O, is made with a piece of two-by-four, a roller skate and a crate, all nailed together. Front end may be decorated with bottle caps. Ride with bands on top of crate and one foot on base and push with other foot. Steer by leaning.

No rainy day need be dull if you know how to make a bamboo cannon. Cut a section from a piece of bamboo, so that you have a joint at each end. Ream out one of the fiber-sealed joints, leaving the other intact. The open end will be the mouth. Wrap wire around middle of cannon and run to holes in side braces. Glue wood shavings or paper fins to a cork. Tilt cannon up and half fill with baking soda. Add four drops of vinegar, insert cork, aim and BANG.

Get an old ski that's been gathering dust in your garage or attic and saw it in half. Nail seat and handle, as shown, to front half of ski, hammering small nails up through bottom of the ski itself. You steer by leaning, and brake with the feet.

The boomerang is a mysterious weapon which, when thrown properly, comes back to the point where it started. Place a plank of ash, hickory or elm in boiling water until the wood is pliable enough to bend. When you have proper curve, nail on side pieces to hold the bent wood in shape. After wood dries, the curve will be permanent. Remove side pieces and saw section into strips. Shape booms with knife and rasp, making the bottom flat and the top beveled. Throw with outside curve facing you. Beginners try to hit the target on the out-throw; experts clobber it on the return.

A miniature Sherman tank requires some two-by-fours, plywood siding, plastic for windshield and two pairs of roller skates. Drill a hole in the center of the two-by-four used for front axle and insert a bolt for a kingpin, allowing the tank to be steered. Nail a small box (not shown) to center piece so the driver can sit with feet on front axle. This tank carries a two-man crew : driver and an engineer, who stands in back and pushes when necessary. A well-built machine manned by a determined crew can withstand a sustained attack from an apple-slinger (top right, opposite page).

For an apple slinger, whittle a whippy stick from a hedge (preferably from the hedge of a cranky neighbor). Sharpen one end slightly. Skewer the apple—a hard, green one—sideways, not lengthwise, so the point of the slinger goes just through the core. Whip the stick back and let the apple fly. Hint: garbage-can covers make good shields.

To make a square-rigged land cruiser, persuade your baby brother he is too old for his tricycle. Then take it apart and attach the front-wheel end as shown, so that it becomes the stern of the sail car. A mop or rake handle will make a good mast. Tie sail made of an old awning or bed sheet to two wooden poles and lash to mast with clothesline. Use tricycle's rear wheels at bow, where a full axle provides necessary balance (putting single wheel in front is sheer suicide). Secure axle tightly to the supporting two-by-four with heavy staples or bent spikes. Make sure backstay is tight, then head off.