Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas on the Cheap: 0-2 Years, 2-5 Years

Sorry it's a bit late this year, but here comes Christmas on the Cheap!

I'm a huge believer in using what you've got. So a lot of these ideas are low budget DIY gifts. This year I'll also included some links to other gift guides in case you don't find what you need here.


0-2 Years


  • Button ribbon. I made this for a cousin's baby who turned one this year. Quick, easy, kids can help, and a sure winner with those that like to put everything in their mouth. Make sure the buttons are big and those on the ends are tied on securely. And make sure the ribbon's colour won't bleed out when wet - 'cause it's sure to get wet.



  • A shaker. This is a plastic mayonnaise jar, dry red beans, stickers and mod podge to secure the lid and the stickers. My mod podge is matte, hence the cloudy surface. If you're looking for a more quiet option add cotton balls or something similar with the beans to dull the volume. I would have also preferred to use a smaller jar/container so that it's more easily held by little hands, but clear is fun, and you know, use what you've got! Once again, easy for kids to help with!


  • Discovery bottles. These are a great idea, I especially love the coloured foam peanuts idea, great for motor skills. And they all look great. Another example here.


2-5 Years

  • Toy Garage. I've used MDF board instead of plywood, because it's much cheaper, but this is a doable project, or a nice (albeit expensive) gift to buy. All the materials (for both wooden toy projects) including glue and sandpaper for this project came to $30 from Bunning's Warehouse, and the qualified builder on site spent over an hour cutting pieces for me. The downer on my version of this project is that it's glued together, so potentially not as durable as a bought one, and we don't have any clamps, so drying the glue is a long process (one piece at a time). We're not that far in to this yet, but it will be great. I haven't followed the example in the book strictly, just used it as a guide. I figure all it needs is more than one level, a ramp, and lines painted on to be car parks.


  • Stacking puzzle/Pyramid Game. The game is to get all the pieces to the other side by moving one piece at a time but by never allowing a larger piece to be on top of a smaller piece. I think it's a fun game, but also saw potential in this plan for a stacking toy with each tower full of different shapes, instead of just one set of squares for the puzzle. I have all the pieces cut for this one, will update later on how it comes together. Once again pieces are glued together, so this project becomes very simple.


  •  Pop up puppet. I'm not making this, but my in-laws used to have one that was loved so hard it broke by my kids.
(Toy Garage, Pyramid Game and Pop Up Clown taken from 50 Toys To Make by Petra Boase)


FYI I have enough materials to make about 4 Pyramid games, one toy garage and maybe a second toy garage all for the $30 I mentioned above ($28.something to be exact). Excluding paint/varnish. I'm thinking I will leave mine as natural as possible.

If you don't want to DIY, some other quick but cheap ideas for young ones are 

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watercolor paint set 



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planting kit (pot, dirt, seeds)





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silly putty



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stamp set.

See my previous years ideas for young children via this page.

If you're looking for a larger, more expensive gift idea try here.

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