Tuesday, January 5, 2010


My daughter received a wonderful gift from my parents which has inspired hours of play on her part. Many of the items within the gift were ones that my parents or my husband and I could have made (had we the time.) The mantra was "simplify" though, and the investment was well worth it. These tree blocks and furniture for the fairies, along with some small baskets, green wool roving, and a family of little felt gnomes were the contents of the gift.

There were some additions that were not purchased items, but things collected from outside. My mom and daughter glued some pine cones and bark for trees. They made their own little table and chairs with twigs and bark. Then my daughter added in her little felted bunny, and we felted food for the baskets. Really, it has inspired additional creativity and endless variations of imaginary play. The most important part has been that it has contributed to all inside play during these twenty degree days. There is no dollar value that can be placed on a mama's sanity.

This is one of my favorite kinds of gifts for my children. (I've become kind of picky after nearly seven years of watching toys come in my door.) It's important to me that toys generate imaginative play, but also allow my children to create the "stage" for the play as much as possible. It seems that the less "props," the better. Shoe boxes become sleds, blocks become houses, wide open oceans and pastures are created with blankets, fabrics, or silks. I am realizing that less is really more. My children are teaching me all along the way.

Since the holiday stress is over, I'm ready to try my hand at making a few fairies of my own. I borrowed a lovely book from a friend that I plan to use to make some of my own. It's titled "Felt Wee Folk: enchanting projects" and written by Salley Mavor. If I didn't already have many of the supplies, plus the book to guide me along, I would most likely purchase this little kit. It seems very fairly priced, and similar to what I envision making for my little girl's birthday in just 3 months.

So, how about you all? Was there a favorite gift for your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew? Sometimes the most unlikely things are the biggest hit. I know, don't tell me. Your two year old was just enamoured by the cardboard box and that one year old? All you needed to give him was wrapping paper to crumple again and again. It really is amazing isn't it? Kids need so little to entertain them.


Life of Joy said...

This best Christmas reaction so far has come from my oldest who is getting ready to turn 6. At I think his 3rd Christmas he received the standard cylindrical can of Tinker Toys. When he opened it he was so excited that he received a can of oatmeal.

Melissa said...

Do you read the blog "Wee Folk Art"? They are always making something cute for their gnome home. That really is just wonderful-- I'm so glad it's buying you some sanity, too. Where is the equivalent for little rowdy boys? I could sure use one here!

Anonymous said...

My son said his favorite gift from Santa was the plastic containers that Santa brought for use in his lunch box. Needless to say the containers are not being used in the lunch box. They hold all sorts of treasures.

Jen Chandler said...

What a wonderful little play set. I'd say I would have loved that as a child, but I would love it now!!! It's inspired a few ideas for crafts of my own, so thank you for posting this :)

Happy Wednesday,

Cheryl Arkison said...

Despite my best efforts the girls just aren't in to this time of play, yet. I'm still working on it.

Our nanny bought the girls a stuffed unicorn and a panda - definite hits. And the tobagan that Santa brought is bringing all of us joy.

The Artful Parent said...

What a great gift!