That’s right, it’s that time of year again, when we are thinking of how to have a lovely, thoughtful holiday without breaking the bank (or the planet!). Every year I look for “green” gift ideas that save cash and reduce, reuse, recycle while still being special and encouraging creativity. (I recently saw Polar Express for the first time, and I LOVE the scene where they explain that Santa is now in the refurbishing business, giving unloved toys new life. I’ve been saying that for years!)
Have you seen those felt boards you can use to tell a story? There are store bought ones with really elaborate, printed pieces you can use, or you can make them yourself for pennies. They are also sometimes called Flannel Boards
- Try this Felt Cookie play set from Sugar Aunts. I would add a small tray from the thrift store, lined with self adhesive felt for the cookie tray. You could do this up very adorably with a couple small mixing bowls and a little oven mitt.
- Here is a how-to for a lap-sized story board from Munchkin and Bean. I love how she was able to make a whole set of them! Watch for coupons for the canvases, or re-use some of the ones you find at the thrift store with scary-ugly paintings on them. (I’m sure you’ve seen them.)
- Would your kid swoon for something that is beyond your art skills, like my little Star Wars fan? No problem, just use stickers.
- Here are printable felt board templates from DLTK. Their suggestion to glue the paper printouts onto sandpaper is an excellent idea. You could laminate them first or use something like modpodge for extra durability.
- How about embroidering or painting a simple felt “block” set, like the one in our cover image by Wendi Gratz? You could create any design- architectural, abstract, or household items- and just have fun with it.
- Here is a Thanksgiving felt board from Where Imagination Grows that you could easily adapt to be about your own family. Make a felt “doll” for each person in your household, etc. How fun!
- This Mr. Potato Head quiet book from Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows could easily be adapted to a felt board. Perfect for toddlers who are learning their body parts or just for silly play (that doesn’t clatter when you drop it on the floor!)
Are you feeling inspired now? I am! I have a hinged chalk/art board that I got at our most recent swap meet that has hooks so it can hang on the wall, and one side is basically blank. I’m going to cover the “empty” side with felt and fill it with felt pieces for my little man! I’d love to hear your ideas! Put them down there in the comments.