Latino parents often move to the United States hoping to provide their children a better future. In their native countries, many grew up in working-class homes without many of the added things many U.S.-based Latinos may have had.

One of those things that was deemed a “luxury” was toys. Recently, a TikTok video caught traction with Latinos on the platform because of the story it depicted.

In it, TikTok user @joannaaa.20 shares a video of a corn husk with braided hairs. The ACE & ACSM Certified Personal Trainer explains how this was what her mom would use as a Barbie when she was young. 


My mom came into my room to show me and my chest felt SOO heavy I WAS FIGHTING TEARS. The way she even braided it to show me. Just a reminder for me to keep working hard af. she deserves the world. #childhood #mamas #fyp #mexicanmom #latina #parati #barbie #whatwasimadefor

♬ original sound – Billie Eilish Home

“My mom came into my room to show me and my chest felt SOO heavy[.] I WAS FIGHTING TEARS. The way she even braided it to show me. Just a reminder for me to keep working hard af. [S]he deserves the world,” she captioned the video.

The video prompted a conversation in the comments where others began sharing what their parents would use when they were children. Many others noted how this video made them emotional or how their parents would take care of the few toys they had. Below, we’ve listed some things some people cited their parents used.

Paper Dolls

One TikTok user noted their mom used paper dolls instead. 

“[M]y mom made me paper dolls when i was a kid cuz that’s what she and her sister used as barbie’s,” they shared.

Beer Bottles

Another TikToker explained how their mother would dress up beer bottles with.

“My mom used my grandpas beer bottles as dolls. She would paint them and create them little dresses,” another said.

River Debris

Another user discussed how their mom would use river debris to play.

She noted, “My mom would go down to the river near her and hope something would get washed up that she could play with.”


One explained that their grandmother would use sticks to bring her playful dreams to life.

“My abuela would use like a stick as a doll .put eyes and hair or something on it and would also makes clothes,” they noted.


Another mentioned that their dad and uncles got creative with rocks they’d find.

“[M]y dad and uncles would use rocks as cars,” the TikTok user explained.


Someone admitted that their dad used mud to make toy cars.

“[M]y dad used to make toy cars out of mud because of how poor his family was when he was a little boy,” one person shared.

Plastic bottles

Using what was around them, another user’s mom utilized plastic bottles.

“[M]y mom used a plastic bottle,” they shared.

Cleaning Towels

Someone else’s mom would revamp cleaning towels.

“Mine would use old cleaning towels and paint them faces and make hair too by cutting a lot of little pieces,” another revealed.

Clothes Pins

One TikTok user recalled when they lived in Guatemala and would use clothes pins to double as little people.

“We were poor living in Guatemala and use to use the wooden clothes pins for hanging up clothes and put them together to make little people to play with,” the TikToker user professed.


Another user’s mom would play with the mop when the cleaning was over.

“My mom would style her mop,” one person noted.


One TikTok user explained that their mom used the house cutlery.

“My mom said spoons were her Barbie’s,” someone revealed.


Another TikTok user noted how emotional they’d get when they thought about how their dad used his shoes.

“My dad used to take off his shoe, and use it as a ‘car’ makes me cry every time I think about it,” they asserted.

Plank of Wood

Another TikTok user’s mom would use planks of wood during playtime.

“My mom told me her doll was a plank of wood with a face carved/drawn on it,” they revealed.


Someone’s mom would get creative with jalapeños and toothpicks.

“My mom would put toothpicks on a jalapeño for a toy,” they cited.


Like many other TikTok users’ moms, this person’s mamá would use whatever inspired her imagination.

“My mom said she would use just whatever she found and use her imagination,” they admitted.