Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Holiday season has begun!

Now that we have had the first snowfall and the holiday's are officially less than one month away, I feel like I can now begin to prepare for the celebrations. I had planned to finish all of my Christmas shopping in November, however, it does not look like that is going to happen. Although, I have done the majority (well, maybe half), I have also decided that I am going to make most of Ewan and Isla's gifts this year, which is taking a little longer. The reason being is last year we had a wonderful Christmas but we went way overboard and Ewan decided that he did not want to open any gifts at all. 

So this year, and hopefully something we maintain over the years to come, is to have essentially 5 gifts for each of the kids. I really like the idea of 'something they want, something they need, and something to read'. I also would like to add something to wear and something I think they should have. I have also moved very much in the direction of open ended and simple toys for both my home and the nursery school program and I am really liking the way these items inspire and require the children to use their own creativity and imagination. A great article can be found here about the benefits of simple, open ended toys for young children.

Here are a few of the items that I am aspiring to make for the kids this year. 

Dying more play silks for both kids - larger ones for Ewan and smaller for Isla. I first did 5 this past spring and Ewan absolutely loves them, they are definitely one of his favourite activities. He uses them for dancing, as superhero capes, making birds nest - it really depends on the day!

Another idea for Ewan is a felt crown and two swords that I have sewn for him to go along with a wooden hobby horse that I purchased. He has begun to get into knights and dragons, so I think this will be big hit. Both were very simple projects and I really like the way they turned out. I found the crown pattern here and the sword pattern here.

I have also made a Fort Building kit for Ewan as he is all about using blankets to create his own little spaces. I found this idea here and I loved the simplicity of it. With a some suction hooks, a flash light and clothes pins from the dollar store, a bed sheet and some fabric scraps I was able to make this kit and I am sure he will be so excited to start building.

I also made both kids some Christmas pyjama's. I have just recently learned to sew and these were considerably harder projects and I kind of got bored of doing them by the end. Also, I messed up Isla's pj's and all of her penguins are standing on their heads, lol, I am not going for perfection with any of these items! I do like the idea of making them Christmas pj's each year though -  a tradition a may try to keep up.

I have also invested in a set of Schleich animals for Ewan, which I expect should last forever and can be brought to A Gym Tale after he is finished with them. To add to this set, I am making a play mat using felt with trees, water, mountains etc. as a dedicated space for him to use with the animals.

And yes, I realize I have gone over the five gifts. But not nearly as much as last year and I am really happy with the potential each of these items have to hopefully inspire his imagination.

As for Isla, in addition to the play silks, which I order online from Dharma Trading, I will be making her a set of bean bags - ideally the alphabet, but she may only get her name depending on time;) I found a great pattern for them here. For Isla's age I think the bean bags will be great for stacking, throwing, dumping or just eating.

I have also ordered a soft doll and a little wooden stroller for her from various shops on Etsy - a great site to check out for both ideas and to purchase the hand made items that you do not have time to do yourself! 

 So all of these projects are the reason that I have not blogged in quite some time! Hopefully some of these items will inspire your own creativity this year! I would also love to hear about how you decide what to get for your children for the holidays as well as any other open ended activities that your children absolutely love.

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