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momaste 12-27-2006 06:04 PM

After this year's plastic-crap-extravaganza (Christmas), DH and I have decided to make the toy gifts for DS (and non-toy gifts for the rest of the family) next year, and encourage our family to make gifts rather than buy them as well. He will be two next Christmas, and will have a birthday in between that will need more homemade gifts for it. We also have a 3 yo nephew to make gifts for.

So DH and I sat down to brainstorm last night. He has woodworking tools and has decided to make wooden cars and some play dough rolling pins and tools. I'm looking at making a Waldorf doll (a little boy doll with a sling and "baby") with a matching outfit for him and the doll, Memory cards made with family photos, beanbags, playdough, and a crayon roll-up case.

Creative suggestions and links to instructions for the toddler set and older, please!

mehndi mama 12-28-2006 11:00 AM

wool balls
photo album (my youngest stole his grandma's because he loved looking at the pictures so much!)
wooden animals
lacing cards
patchwork ball

For older kids:
bendie dolls
handmade clothing
dollhouse furniture
personalized stationery
craft kits (put them together yourself)

For grandparents/greats/aunts/uncles:
photo refrigerator magnets

Flor 12-28-2006 01:49 PM

I made this this year:

and this last year:

obviously I added store bought items, but you wouldn't need to.

momaste 12-28-2006 04:08 PM

Flor, that is FANTASTIC!! Do you have a plan for it or something? Did you make the animals and people? So cool!

momaste 12-28-2006 04:12 PM

Mehndi mama - great ideas! DS would like a photo album just for him.

Flor, that tree toy is FANTASTIC!! Do you have a plan for it or something? So cool!

mightymoo 12-28-2006 04:30 PM

I didn't have time to make the stuff I wanted to make this year - fleece boas, I Spy bags (like a bean bag with a window and various items surrounded by rice for kids to try to find).

Other ideas off the top of my head:
Puppet theatre (hanging in a doorway would be fairly simple)
Animal costumes (they had great ones at a children's museum near us - basically just vests in verious fur fabrics some with hoods, etc made to look like different animals)
Bean bags & game for tossing
Hopscotch rug (could paint on canvas)

momaste 12-28-2006 05:02 PM

Can you tell me more about an I Spy bag? Or link? I've never heard of that.

dutchgal 12-28-2006 05:11 PM

Here's a link to one. I'd personally put more little things in the bottle, but that's just me!

A kitchen:

A Sock Monkey:

Felt food:

Fleece Slippers:

Crayon Cookies:

Hope that helps!!

Flor 12-28-2006 07:07 PM

Originally Posted by momaste View Post
Flor, that is FANTASTIC!! Do you have a plan for it or something? Did you make the animals and people? So cool!
I bought the Beanie Babies and got the people and cave from Hearthsong and the car from Magic Cabin. I just made the tree itself (they were 150 dollars alone so making the tree allowed me to buy all the assesories I wanted to go with it.) Someone who's craftier could make more of the assesories, of course. There was no plan other than cut down a chunk of wood out of my dad's backyard, make it stand up by screwing it into wood. He did make carboard shelves for it as models then traced them onto wood.

BTW, I was inspired by a different thread here. There is a pic here of a gorgeous treehouse. Mine was for a 3 year old boy so it is simple and "jungley." I think it would be fun to make a more detailled "fairy" one for an older child.

The car playmat was really fun to make because it has all of ds's favorite places like Grandma's house and the ice cream shop. He still plays with it everyday and it was from last Christmas.

mightymoo 12-28-2006 07:14 PM

Originally Posted by momaste View Post
Can you tell me more about an I Spy bag? Or link? I've never heard of that.

I don't know of a tutorial but it looks simple enough (without the fancy embroidery of course)

I think kids would like a bag more than a bottle because they can squish the bag around in their hands to find what they want, a bottle would annoy me trying to get new things to appear.

kimberlychapman 12-29-2006 08:20 AM

I've got free knit patterns here, most of which are toys:

Plus the basic Little Dude pattern here:

And when I have time, I add more patterns for the stuff that's in the gallery, or feel free to reverse-engineer any of it:

I'm also a fan of simple, reused-item toys. There have been a few threads on this, but basically take anything safe (some items require supervision, obviously, and some aren't suitable at all) and let your kid explore it. In our household, favourites for my toddler are:

Costco-sized cereal boxes and other similar large boxes, some taped up, some left open, they become giant building blocks, places to hide stuff, etc.

The half-box flats that come with the big packs of Earth's Best food, they become risers, seats, trays for smaller stuff, drums, etc.

Plastic water bottles filled with otherwise dangerous stuff like sea shells, beads, etc., plus non-dangerous stuff like water, soap, food colouring, anything that strikes your fancy. Kids love water bottles. You can screw the lid on tight or for extra security, put a bit of white glue around the threads and let it dry for a few days (extra if there's water in there, and don't shake until it's thoroughly dry).

Any cardboard tube such as from toilet paper, paper towels, etc, they become whacking toys, squishable toys, rippable toys, and lately the big fad is to use them as pretend trumpets (my baby holds it up to me and asks for "do do do", it's insanely cute).

Junk mail/unwanted magazines or catalogues are great fun to peruse, rip, teach gentle paper-handling skills, whatever. Then the leftovers go in the recycle bin. Heck, I use it to show my toddler the evils of advertising, even if she doesn't understand it yet. I'll explain to her that that ad is appealing to her emotions, or that one is shouting at her to buy a car, or that that one is misleading for this reason.

Hope this helps!

Ardilla 12-29-2006 01:15 PM

Kimberly, your work is amazing! I love all the Pop Culture Little Dudes!

Flor 12-31-2006 03:24 PM

Here is a board book I made ds:

The blank board books are from they also have blank puzzles and journals and they are CHEAP!

griffin2004 12-31-2006 03:40 PM

A felt board and felt story characters were a big hit here last year. I made the board by buying a picture frame at Goodwill, popping the back out and gluing batting on it then covering it with felt, and popping it back into the frame.

mehndi mama 12-31-2006 04:27 PM

Speaking of board books, my mom used to make us board books out of cardboard and those metal hinged locking rings that you can get at office supply places. I think they're for holding file cards together or something? She would make photo books, or glue fabric cutouts into pictures, or take inexpensive picture books and cut them up and paste the pages to the cardboard (this requires 2 copies of the book, though.)

antannie 01-01-2007 01:28 AM

Things I have made over the years:

puppets and finger puppets
stuffed animals
doll beds and quilts for them
bean bags
lace up/buttons/snap dolls - I made a black velour bug with all kinds of bug outfits

aiccerb 01-01-2007 02:22 AM


rose_bud79 01-01-2007 02:30 AM

I love everyones ideas! So creative! At the coffeeshop my friend and I go to, they have a play area with all wooden toys. There are blocks there that I think someone made and they are beautiful. The blocks are made from a branch of a tree or a small tree, sliced to about 1 1/2" and sanded way down so they are super smooth.

mamocak 01-01-2007 11:21 AM

Originally Posted by Flor View Post
Here is a board book I made ds:

The blank board books are from they also have blank puzzles and journals and they are CHEAP!
This is such a cute idea Wonderful job and drawings!

mamocak 01-01-2007 11:24 AM

This year I made:
personalized ornaments
doll tutus
bendy doll sets
appliqued shirts
personalized frames

Some of my future ideas are:
needlefelted animals
more clothes
fleece scarf and mitten sets
knitted belts
sewn purses
embellished clothes

sunanthem 01-01-2007 09:38 PM

A rope swing
a wooden square board with 4 casters underneath
felt boards
aprons or smocks with pockets for crayons, etc.
cool magnets and a cookie sheet
magic wands
homemade play doh
lil folk made of spools with acorns for heads, adorned in felt

2 in August 01-03-2007 11:11 AM

I've done...

...beanbags with activity cards
...I Spy Bottles
...Dancing ribbons (got gold hoops at Hobby Lobby, tied fancy ribbons to it) and a jingle bell bracelet to wear while dancing
...fleece poncho
...dinosaur soap (grated bar of soap, mixed with some dry oatmeal and enough water to make it gooey, packed it around small dinos for my friend's ds who loves dinos)

isulari 01-17-2007 05:43 PM


E.V. Lowi 01-17-2007 10:22 PM

Originally Posted by milkmaidx2 View Post
i love this thread!!
i know it's past the holiday's but i wanted to add my most recent handmade creation. i created him for my soon to be two year old as a birthday gift. this creature is called a wonkey. he was made from a wool sweater i often wore during my pregnancy with my ds. my older ds donated kite string for the imperfect stitching, and we took the buttons from some of daddy's worn clothing. i used some crinkly material left over from previous toy making to make the ears, arms and tail have a wonderful crinkly sound. he is truly supposed to look a bit manky.
i can hardly wait until this weekend to share him with ds.

~this thread has been so much fun and i have gleamed such great gift ideas. thanks!!:
I love WONKEY!

operamommy 01-18-2007 07:17 PM

Wonkey is so cute! I just love the fact that all the materials for him have meaning - what a neat way to recycle items! I'm sure your son will adore it.

isulari 01-18-2007 08:16 PM


isulari 01-18-2007 08:18 PM


fremontmama 03-24-2007 06:26 PM

this thread rules! i came on searching for details on making our own crayons from the broken bits and this thread has all that and more! woohoo : :

sunflowers 03-25-2007 12:56 PM

I came across a really cool quilt idea for a toddler (doesn't really meet the 'reqirements' of this thread but an older toddler might enjoy it- expecially if you make it as a memory game)

Here's the link of what I saw- now off to teach myself to quilt well enough to make one for dd for Christmas...

Doula Gina 03-26-2007 03:02 AM

My children were old enough this year for me to hand down the crocheted crocodile puppet my great-grandma made for me, along with two dolls she crocheted for me - they are swaddle dolls, in that they have a blanket crocheted onto their back, all in one piece. I just wish she hadn't chosen the plastic parts for the face and hands - especially the hand that holds a bottle

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