Saturday, June 27, 2015

Toy Logs Out of Old Clothes

Today I upcycled a torn cotton shirt into toy logs.  I always make sure the clothes we reuse as toys are not wrinkle-free, as those generally have harmful PFOAs on them.

First I cut the sleeves off the shirt.

I cut one of the sleeves in half to get a total of 3 logs out of 2 sleeves.

I then took some old fabric to stuff the logs.

I cut it into 3 pieces and rolled it to fit the log.  This ended up not being enough so I added some more cotton shirt scraps to fill the sleeves.

Here are the three sleeves, stuffed.

I took the ends and folded them closed, almost like gift wrap.

And then I sewed those ends shut.

Then I cut circles out of felt and drew on them with a black Sharpie Stained fabric pen.

I sewed the circles onto the ends of the logs with a blanket stitch and then used the fabric pen to draw wood grain onto the 3 logs and they were done!

Here they are with our Grimm's flames.

And here they are helping cook some of our playfood.

This was a quick, fun project that gave new life to a torn shirt.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Block Art

Every now and then my oldest kid and I like to make sculptures and other little works of art out of our Haba blocks and Grimm's Spiel and Holz Design Rainbow, Waves and Fire.  They are all vibrantly colored pieces of art in their own right but when combined, they can look stunning, or just fun and happy, and who doesn't like fun and happy?

Here are some of our latest creations:

A boat sailing under clouds on a moonlit night.

A rainbow gnome village, perfect for rainbow-thematic unit weeks.
(There are some PlanToys blocks in here as well).

A person with a ponytail.


A despondent face (Thank you, 13 Words for making "despondent" part of my kids' everyday vocabulary).

Another face.

The sun.

A flower.

Check back every Monday for new posts, including more info on green products and DIY toys.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Unique Green Toys

We love our German wooden toys because they are so open ended and can grow with our kids.  Here are a few of our wooden toys that my kids have fun playing with that are a little different from the norm.  These are all PlanToys and are made in Thailand.

The PlanToys Balancing Cactus is a fantastic toy that can be used in several ways.  Each colored piece is a different size and weight, teaching children about balance.  Kids can build with it to make towers or a plant, and it can be used as a form of Jenga, where kids add pieces or subtract them, trying to make the other player topple the cactus.  We have to be careful with this toy since my youngest still mouths toys and the orange, yellow and red cactus pieces are tiny, but my older son really enjoys this toy.

The PlanToys Nuts and Bolts toy comes with two figures with three pieces on them that can be twisted into different formations, helping to develop motor skills in toddlers.  My oldest wasn't interested in this toy for a long time but around the age of 3 he enjoyed playing with it.  We have another wooden nut and bolt Montessori toy but the PlanToys version is more interesting to my kids because you can make the nuts and bolts into people.

The PlanToys Mini Walking Elephant is an adorable toy that walks down a ramp when tilted just right, teaching kids about gravity and balance while developing their motor skills.  It's an adorable toy that my kids really enjoy.  They love to see the elephant walk and my older son likes to figure out how to make him walk.  I have found the best deal on this toy to be on

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

DIY Play Mat: Outer Space

This was an easy playmat to make.

I just cut out a planets, aliens, a rocket ship and a UFO from felt and sewed them to the front half of an old men's t-shirt that was cut below the armpits.  The back half was made into the Halloween playmat that I posted about last year.

Because the shirt already had stripes on it, I incorporated it into the mat and made it the tail of the shooting star.

I then made some aliens, a UFO and a rocketship.  I might make another astronaut for this mat too.

The mat is crooked because of the cut of the shirt but my kids don't mind one bit.  This is a quick and easy toy to make and it is conventient to bring to other people's houses too, to keep your child entertained.

Here are some of my other playmats:

Pond Play Mat

Ocean Play Mat

India Play Mat

No-Sew Ocean Mat

Farm Play Mat

Dinosaur Play Mat

I'll be posting more including a Dr. Seuss themed no-sew play mat, a car play mat and more in the coming weeks.

Check back every Monday for new posts, including more info on green products and DIY toys.

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