Showing posts with label toys and games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toys and games. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DIY Miniature Bean Bags

I been thinking about Christmas presents for a little while now, and one short project that I already finished were these cute miniature bean bags. I made a set of six for both Aaron and Andrew. I choose to make miniature ones and fill them with rice instead of beans. I did this for a couple of reasons. The small size is easier for their small hands to hold, and they will hurt brother less should his head accidentally get in the way of a bean bag. As they get bigger (and/or more careful), maybe I'll make them a bigger set. This quick and easy sewing project makes a great frugal gift for boys.

Make Your Own Bean (or Rice) Bags
  • fabric scraps
  • thread
  • sewing machine is optional
  • beans or rice to fill the bag
  1. Cut out two rectangles the same size for each bean bag you want to make. I cut my rectangles 3" by 4" for these miniature ones. For regular sized bean bags, I think 4" by 6" would be a good size.
  2. Place two rectangles right sides together. Stitch around three sides, leaving one open for turning and stuffing.
  3. Turn right side out.
  4. Fill with beans or rice.
  5. Whip or slip stitch the open side closed. Stitch very securely; you don't want the contents to spill everywhere.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

DIY Child's Drum

This toy is super easy to make, and what child wouldn't love a drum of their very own. I made one for the boys before, when we were living with family, and the boys wanted to be just like their Uncle Caleb. But the recycled pretzel container drum obviously didn't make the cut for items to move half-way around the world, so I made a new drum for Aaron's third birthday, and he loved it.

First, find a cylindrical container, and clean it. This time, I used a cardboard container that formerly contained 3 kg of ice cream. Next, cover it with paper, and decorate it. Then, find something to use for drumsticks. This time, my husband cut two pieces of bamboo for drumsticks. Incidentally, the thin bamboo stick was sturdy enough to break the brand new saw blade (that's China for you). In the past, we have used other sticks, pencils, and chopsticks for drumsticks.

If your child wants to pretend to be in a marching band (like Uncle Caleb or Christopher Robin), you can add a string to be worn around the neck, as long as you are there to make sure it is not a strangulation hazard.

Now our boys are all ready for a hero party. Both boys love this simple and free (well except for the saw blade) toy. Perhaps we'll have to get another "big old kind of ice cream" (as Aaron would say) so that they can each have one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Thomas Board Game

My mom made tons of games for us when we were kids. A lot of them were educational, but some were just for fun. For my son's third birthday I wanted to make him a special board game that he would really enjoy. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine, so I decided to make a Thomas-themed board game. After I decided on the theme, it was a pretty straight forward process.

First I found a piece of cardboard. I used part of the box from the new toilet seat, but any sturdy cardboard will do. You could probably even buy new cardboard if you wanted to, but I have no idea where I could but it here.

Then I had my husband print out a map of the Island of Sodor he downloaded from Wikipedia. Because Nate is amazing and computer savy, he was able to make it large enough to fit on two pages and added direction arrows, start here, and end of the line markings to the document before printing. This made my job easier. I just added additional stops, basically black dots, for the trains to stop at along the track. Then I glued the map to the cardboard and put some Thomas stickers we had on for decoration. Next I laminated the whole thing, with tape because that is all we had at the time.

I also had my husband print some engines from Thomas coloring pages we found online. Again because my husband is so cool, he was able to shrink them down and adapt a Thomas engine to match the rest before printing them out. I colored them, cut them out, and then laminated them onto cardboard. Then I made little stands so the trains can stand up as they move along the track.

I wanted the game to help emphasize some of the good morals that are taught in the Thomas stories so I made consequence cards to be used when a player lands on a stop that has a name written on the map. Things like helping a friend shunt freight cars move you ahead, but being bossy or boasting move you back a few stops. If you want to make your own game you can download the free printable game cards here.

The rules are simple:
  1. Roll the die
  2. Move that number of stops
  3. Stay there if it has no name
  4. Or pick a card and follow the consequence if it has a name
  5. The fist one to the end of the line wins
Or you can simply push the cars around the Island of Sodor and have fun reading the cards, which is what Aaron's favorite thing to do with this game so far. I guess it is good to has gifts that you can grow into.

I am really pleased with how the game turned out, and Aaron is too even if he plays the game differently than intended. It is a gift Aaron loves and cost me basically nothing to make since we had the cardboard and die already. It did take a little paper, ink, and tape, but the only real expense was my time.

What do you think would be good themes for board games?


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