The 'good old days' is an amorphous concept, with the definition seemingly dependent upon your current age. The basic formula goes something like this: CA-X=10 yrs, with CA equaling 'Current Age' and 'X' equaling...well, I'm not really sure. My point is many of us look back upon the time we were around ten years old as a golden period of fun and freedom. Unrestricted play and unfettered creativity resulted in summers full of good times and a bit of mischief. See how easy it is to get nostalgic? I recently came across what could be the original handbook for keeping the 'good old days' alive, and it is full of interesting projects.
Over at Homeschool Freebie they have a free download of a book from the turn of the century called Practical Things to Build with Simple Tools. It is a wonderful glimpse into a past when kids wore knickers and caps and child safety was handled a bit more...loosely, to say the least. It is full of interesting old drawings and diagrams as well as instructions on how to build a large selection of toys and useful items. (If I were you I would focus on the quaint things like box kites and skip over the section on spring guns. Like I said, these were different times). One of the most interesting aspects of the entire book is the materials used. It not only stresses the re-use of packing crates and cigar boxes, there is also no mention of plastic! Hard to believe in today's world and a lesson for your kids on natural resources and technology. This free download is interesting on many levels and can inspire your crafty family all summer long.