The holiday season is here, a busy time in most homes and ours is no different. With the season comes the fun task of finding the perfect gift to give our little ones, to spark wonder and excitement in their eyes. Every year we try to have at least one handmade gift under the tree for our children, and most years it’s these open-ended materials that are played with continuously throughout the year. Here is our list of easy and frugal handmade gifts to spark creativity and imagination, with quick how to guides.
Simple and fun, they provide endless hours of building and imaginative play. Paired with toy animals or dolls these blocks become castles, zoos and farms. These blocks are a favorite in our house and have withstood years of daily use.
Follow this link to find a full tutorial on how to make these blocks. DIY Tree Blocks
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Chalk Building Blocks
Building blocks are always a hit, add some chalk paint to add more imaginative fun.
- Start with cut offs from untreated lumber. Great way to use up leftover pieces from other projects.
- Cut into desired shapes and sizes (I used a mitre saw).
- Sand lightly to avoid splinters.
- Paint using chalk board paint. Follow the directions as recommended on the packaging.
You can order chalkboard paint here, or most hardware stores carry it.
These simple wooden dolls are perfect to add to any doll house or fairy house. Add a box of markers or paint and your child can spend time decorating their own set of dolls.
I ordered these Peg dolls online here, or they can be found in local craft shops.
Add magic and mystery to your garden or play space. These fairy houses can be made large or small to fit any space and are completely customizable. Add nature items like moss, bark and stones to make furniture. This is a great way to use up extra lumber from other building projects.
- Start by selecting a suitable board, I used a live edge rough cut poplar board.
- Next, plan out the house, draw with pencil on the board where you want to make your cuts. I used a jigsaw to cut a whimsical design. Make sure the base is larger than the second level piece.
- Once both pieces are cut, sand. I used a hand sander to speed up this part.
- Next select support branches, cut evenly and to size. I used a mitre saw to cut the support branches on our fairy house.
- Using wood screws, secure the support branches by screwing them to the base from the bottom. Pre-drill the holes for the screws to prevent splitting/cracking.
- Once the base is done add the second level and secure by screwing wood screws through the top level.
- Optional, seal with beeswax.
To customize the fairy house you can hot glue moss, stones and other nature materials.
Chalk Tree Slices
Another fun and easy gift idea is to make chalk tree slices. These are great to use for letter or number recognition. They also make nice Christmas tree ornaments or nature gift tags.
- Using a mitre saw cut a tree branch into 1 inch slices.
- Sand on one or both sides, as desired.
- Following the recommendation on the packaging of chalk paint, paint one or both sides of the slice. I recommend applying at least two coats of the chalk paint.
- Allow to dry. If using as ornaments or gift tags use a drill to make a small hole at the top of the slice to put a string through.
These easy to make paintbrushes will add a wonderful natural feel to any artists canvas. The best part about these brushes is they can be made from things in your yard. Grass, flowers, leaves and branches can all be used.
- Take a walk in your backyard and collect nature items.
- Let them dry, use as desired for painting.
Great for letter and name recognition these simple tree slices are easy to make.
- Find a tree branch in your desired size, cut into slices (between 1-2 inches).
- Lightly sand to prevent splinters.
- Using a stencil or free hand, paint each letter of your child’s name on an individual tree slice.
- For added learning fun, paint the corresponding number on the back of the slice.
- Optional, seal with non toxic sealer or beeswax.
Coloured Building Blocks
Building blocks are always a classic open-ended toy that encourages creative and problem solving skills. A good set of blocks can last years and many children.
- Gather scrap cut offs from previous projects or go to a local builder and ask for untreated cutoffs.
- Cut the blocks into desired size and shapes using a mitre saw.
- Lightly sand to prevent splinters.
- Paint using non toxic paint.
- Optional, seal with non toxic sealer or with beeswax.
If your home is like ours you have a container filled with old crayons that no one wants to use anymore. Give them new life by creating your own unique set of crayons.
- First peel any remaining paper off the crayon.
- Next break them into little pieces and place in an old muffin tin.
- Fill to the top with like colors or be creative and mix the colors.
- Bake in the oven on a low temperature, checking on them often.
- Once completely melted remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing.
What other handmade Gifts have your child/ren received and loved?
Products we use and love,