When I'm not creating gorgeous wedding designs or growing flowers in the cutting garden, I can usually be found cosied up inside and making things. And ever since Immy was a tiny thing, I've been making things for her. It started with clothes and blankets but when she started to play and explore my pinterest searches turned more to toys and games that were quick and easy to make, ideally from bits and pieces I already had at home.
The first ones were when she was just old enough to hold things and shake them and, inspired by all the fab sensory bottles they had at our local Children's Centre, I decided to make her some of her own. I found several photos online of these little round bubble bath bottles being used and after much googling, finally tracked some down (you can find similar here). I filled them with all sorts of bits, including water balloons, bits of chopped up straws, pompoms, buttons, loom bands and brightly coloured Easter chicks.
She started off just shaking them with her darling fat baby hands, but as time goes on she's progressed to balancing them on things, sorting by colour and pointing out the 'ducks' and buttons inside them to me. As she's just learnt her colours I thought it would be fun to expand on the sorting with these next toys. I've been pinning various Waldorf/Montessori toys for a while and had seen various rainbow egg variations, so I ordered seven wooden eggs and cups and some sweet little peg dolls, which I painted with gel food colouring and will finish with oil (when I can prise them out of her hands for long enough!) I've also just taken delivery of some little trees and acorns to add to the set.
She loves sorting them into groups, putting eggs in the cups and then changing them to 'baths' when she puts the little peg ladies in them. I've started making these felted wool balls too, just made from scraps of felt and shrunken jumpers wrapped in yarn, needle felted a little and then tied into a lingerie bag for a few trips through the washing machine, which she is enjoying balancing on the egg cups and chucking across the room shouting 'GEEN BALL!'
With the lovely natural feel of the wood and wool, it seemed only logical to turn to my bag of cotton scraps next to create some simple and easy bean bags. Cut two squares and sew three of the edge together. Turn inside out, fill with dried beans and slip stitch the last edge closed. Immy loves the way they feel and the noise they make, and they've been added to her play in very imaginative ways, though mostly as road blocks for her cars to make traffic jams behind!
I also wanted to show you a couple of felt things I made a while ago, starting with her cookies. I spent a long time researching biscuits (!) and finding the best images to trace onto parchment paper. I then embroidered the designs onto wool felt through the paper before removing it, sewing on the backing and stuffing. It was a real labour of love (I actually still have a couple to finish, the custard cream has nearly defeated me!) but she loves them and has played with them constantly for a year. I was obsessed with toy food as a child and even if Immy doesn't feel the same way, at least they'll amuse me!
And the last toy is the pineapple. This pineapple is the crowning glory of my toy-making efforts and I just love it. It wasn't easy, there was a lot of trial and error, though by making the rings first it meant I could make everything else around them to ensure they would go inside. The core holds the top on and also makes a fun threading game which is great for learning hand eye coordination. The materials are just wool felt, embroidery thread, stuff and a little iron-on interfacing for the body of the pineapple to keep it upright. It's proved a firm favourite and she loves 'cutting' the slices with her little fabric knife.
There are, as always, plans afoot for more wood and wool goodies, with felt vegetables currently being the main focus for Immy's Christmas suprise, along with a few other little bits and pieces for the festive season, which I will share with you soon! I hope you've found this post inspiring and it would be lovely to hear about any easy homemade toys you've made for your little ones. Let me know in the comments below!