Image courtesy of Jennifer Chait
We're a little obsessed with the Legend of Zelda at my house (yes, that's our Zelda Halloween pumpkin from last year shown above). However. as much as our entire household loves Zelda, my son is the one who is really hyper obsessed. By hyper obsessed I mean the kid has played all the Zelda video games, collects Zelda books, filled two journals with Zelda drawings and has Zelda themed birthday parties -- which means I have to make dozens of Triforce cookies. He even grew out his blond hair just so that his hair would look like Link's hair each Halloween for four years running. I'd say not cutting your hair in support of Link is pretty intense. Sadly, when you've got a kid who is really into some sort of video game, it's hard if you happen to be a green family. Cedar has always wanted lots of Zelda gear, but good luck finding eco-friendly Zelda toys and other items. Lots of video game minded toys tend to be made with plastic or other questionable materials. Thankfully, after years of dealing with this Zelda affinity, I've been able to round up some better, more eco-friendly items for Cedar. If your young child is into Zelda or your older kid likes Zelda cosplay, check out the ideas below, plus learn how to make your own Zelda gear using recycled materials.
You CANNOT play pretend Zelda games without a fairy. Though annoying, “Hey, listen!,” every decent Link needs a fairy friend. There are lots of fairy items out there, but one of the best I’ve seen is the magical LED lit fairy bottle shown above. The fairy itself isn’t the best material (styrofoam) but the wings are made of pearlized paper and a large hi-intensity LED inside the fairy provides the glow. The bottle is all glass, with a natural cork stopper and a jute cord for easy attachment to your belt. This bottle also makes an excellent night-light for fairy loving kiddos. This shop also carries the CUTEST little Lon Lon Milk Bottle and some awesome potion bottles too. See all their Zelda offerings.
Of all the items Cedar deems necessary for Zelda dress-up and play, oddly, Link’s costume is his smallest concern. Cedar feels a Link hat is 100% necessary, but usually just tosses on a green shirt and belt for the other costume components. For kids more dedicated to the costume, you might consider an elf costume for kids. As for the hat, it’s tough to find an eco-friendly version. In fact, Cedar’s dad, who is a better sewer than me, finally just made Cedar a Link hat out of wool felt. However, if you’re looking to buy, because you’re not that crafty, I like the knit hat above, because it’s a subtle green and looks very authentic. There are lots of other hats available online too.
Sword & Shield
A good sword and shield is a must for proper Zelda play. Of course the type of sword and shield you get will mostly depend on which game your kid likes best. My son likes the Hylian shield and Triforce sword, so that’s what I’ve featured in the image above. Most play swords and shields are made of plastic, but if you spend some time looking, you can find decently priced wooden swords and shields, which I highly recommend over plastic. If you’re willing to paint a sword or shield, that’s not Zelda-specific (yet), Palumba carries a lot of wonderful wooden play swords and shields that will work. You can see more Zelda swords and shields at Heavenly Swords.
If you don’t have rupees you can’t stock up on bombs, arrows and other Zelda gear, so they’re a must for Zelda play. The coolest handmade rupee wallet I’ve seen is the one shown above. The set consists of a crocheted drawstring bag that comes with three felt rupees in your choice of green, blue, red, yellow, or purple. Your child might also enjoy a wooden treasure chest or nice rupee pouch to stash their rupees in. I also found some super cute rupee soap which pretty much guarantees whine-free bathing for Zelda obsessed kids.
The Zelda weapon/item of my son’s dreams is his very own hook shot or claw shot. If you’re unfamiliar with Zelda, a hook shot is just like it sounds; an item meant to shoot out, attach to structures and propel you upwards. After much failed online researching and watching the MythBusters episode that said there’s no such thing as a real hook shot that can carry your weight, my son had to settle for something else, and he chose a slingshot. Luckily I found a very eco-friendly, yet still affordable slingshot at Camden Rose. This slingshot is made in the USA of real Maple Hardwood and a stretchy rubber band. It works great too – just warn your kid not to aim for cars. Now, my son told me he needed real pellets to shoot with, but that seemed like an eye accident just waiting to happen, so instead I bought him a set of wool felt balls, which work great and don’t hurt my son’s friends if he accidentally shoots them. If you’re in a wide open area, found acorns also work well with this slingshot and make for a very Zelda-authentic experience.
Music is an important part of Zelda and also a great learning experience for your child. I bought Cedar’s ocarina at Songbird Ocarina but recently saw a very nice homemade ocarina on Etsy that’s inexpensive and lovely. The ocarina shown above is handmade, glazed with a shimmering blue pearl and the Triforce logo is hand carved. It also comes with a comfortable wool necklace, so the ocarina can go anywhere with your child. Cedar’s ocarina came with a songbook so he could learn to play it, but if you buy one that doesn’t, check out Songbird’s home page for a video tutorial.
Image courtesy of Jennifer Chait
Homemade Legend of Zelda Gear
Over the years, partially because it’s hard to find eco-Zelda items and partially because Cedar is simply a crafty kind of kid, he’s made most of his own Zelda gear. This is a great eco-friendly option if you’re having trouble finding Zelda toys and can save you tons of money. Below are some of the Zelda projects my son has completed plus some tips.
Homemade sword: The first Zelda sword Cedar built was made of Legos. The second, shown above, he made with recycled items including cardboard, a wooden stick, an egg carton and A LOT of packing tape. Later, when Cedar gained access to a wood shop through his school, he made a wooden sword with help from the instructor. YouTube has many homemade sword tutorials you can watch.
Homemade shield: Cedar has made Zelda shields with an insane amount of materials. His first two were made with Lego bricks and K’Nex. Then he moved onto cardboard and finally wood (as shown above). He made his wooden shield in his school’s wood shop, then we found a pattern online, traced it on and he painted it. If you don’t have access to a wood shop, you can buy an eco-friendly wooden shield and paint it, using any Zelda pattern you find online. Here’s a cardboard shield tutorial and another homemade shield tutorial.
Homemade bottles: Cedar collected a bunch of small soy candles in bottles, burned said candles, then used the bottles for pretend milk, potion and fairy bottles. He’s tried a few different things, including painting the inside of the bottle with paint (which didn’t work great) and placing paper inside to add color (as seen via the green potion bottle in the image above).
Homemade rupees: Rupees are insanely easy to make with homemade clay or recycled cardboard, though I suggest clay as it lasts longer. Simply make some homemade dough, cut out rupees with a diamond cookie cutter or knife, then bake and paint. Cedar also tossed some glitter on his homemade rupees to make them shiny. Cedar picked up a wooden treasure chest at a craft store, painted it and stores his rupees in it, but for Halloween, he uses a little drawstring pouch.
Homemade Link clothing: As I noted above, Cedar’s not particular about his Link outfit, other than the hat. You can find green shirts and belts easily at thrift stores and make a wool felt hat if you sew. Learn how to make Zelda hats and see an entire Link outfit tutorial.
Beyond the items above, Cedar’s expanded his recycled Zelda gear with homemade fairies and Zelda masks made with recycled paper and papercraft tutorials, and he finally got his hook shot using instructions from one of his favorite books Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction. This book sounds crazy dangerous, but it’s actually not. It’s the perfect book for kids who like to build stuff with inexpensive recycled goods and has tutorials for 30 different spy weapons and surveillance tools, including a mint tin catapult, slingshot, paper throwing star, bionic ear and much more.