Monday, November 24, 2008

Gift Ideas for My Toddler

Christmas will soon be here, and I'm trying to plan not only what we want to get Abigail, but also what to tell the grandparents and Santa should they ask (my Mama already has and I hear Santa takes letters). Abigail will be 2 in January, so I'm also looking ahead to her birthday but also thinking about the sorts of things I would like to gift her with in the next few years (while I still have a say in the matter). So here is my thinking-out-loud idea list for gifts I would like to buy or make.

  1. play silks - I've been looking at these at various on-line sites for several months. They're terribly expensive and I don't really know what makes them better than the huge pile of baby blankets I have from my baby showers. However, I'm willing to give them a try. I can't remember where I found this, but you can buy plain ones here and dye them with koolaid or food coloring. It's so much cheaper this way and then it becomes a craft too. I've looked at several fabric stores and you just can't buy this much silk this inexpensively locally (not that I've discovered in my city anyway). I do have some silk remnants from a sari store in Alanta that I bought years and years ago and I know Abigail likes playing with them, so I think she would be interested.

  2. homemade wooden blocks - I think I've mentioned these before on this blog. They look great, but they're so expensive. I was convinced my brother could make these easily, and I was right. I happened to park next to my daddy's woodpile when I was there in October and found the perfect logs. Andy cut them for me into various thicknesses, and now I just need to coat and/or sand them. Abigail has already seen them, knew they were blocks and started playing immediately. (They briefly showed up on our seasonal "table" on our front porch.) Andy tells me ours are made from pecan, persimmon and water oak.

  3. handmade baby doll afghan - I am not good with the crochet, but I did manage a very small afghan for one of Abigail's babies. It is more of a lap blanket for a 9 inch doll, but I tried. Eventually, I might work up the nerve to make one for a larger doll.

  4. handmade afghan - I started this afghan several weeks ago and thought I was almost finished. Then I realized the darn thing looked like a cone instead of a rectangle. So I quit in frustration. It was supposed to match the doll afghan (or vice versa) but so far it's stuck. I might try again for her birthday.

  5. handmade baby doll - I really like the idea behind the Waldorf dolls, with their cloth bodies and wool interiors. I don't sew well, so I'm pretty intimidated. I've been looking for a pattern that my Mama and Grandma used to make prairie dolls with (my Laura Ingalls Wilder doll), but Simplicity apparently doesn't make it anymore. I'm thinking about ordering a kit from Weir or Magic Cabin that contains everything I'd need to make a Waldorf doll (except skill).

  6. handmade felt play food - I've mentioned this several times here. I've fallen into a whole debate on whether I should use acrylic felt or wool felt or if it's irrelevant because she puts it ALL in her mouth anyway and it would get gross. Should I just buy her some wooden food? Should I just stop worrying about the plastic food she already has? Should I wait until she's old enough to pretend to eat it instead of actually chomping on it because she thinks that's how you pretend to eat? In the meantime, she's still actively chewing on plastic food that I'm not sure of the provenance. And today I got the Pottery Barn Kids catalog with a too cute chinese take-out set made of fabric. Love it!

  7. tea set - I'm looking for a non-plastic, non-ceramic useable tea set. Abigail likes to actually drink out of her play cups, so I think she would like to actually pour from her tea pot. I'd love one made of teak or something, but I've found two I like, sort of. The Pottery Barn Kids set is perfect - it's painted metal, it includes plates, saucers, spoons, creamer and sugar. It's durable for toddlers but pretty for older children too. Problems: it's pink and I'm growing tired of pink and it's $70. I really don't think we need to spend $70 on a tea set. The other set I like is made by Green Toys and is made in the United States of recycled milk jugs. So it's durable, attractive, eco-friendly, affordable, and made in USA.

  8. Cookware and Dining Set - I would like Abigail to have a little aluminum set of cookware. I like durable things because they hold their value if we decide to resell but can also be handed down if we don't. I'm actually considering checking a thrift shop and seeing if I can find a lightweight pot and pan in a small size. I also like the cookware set from Green Toys, but at $40 it's considerably more than the tea set.

  9. rocks - It sounds silly, but I think I would have loved a huge bag of decorative rocks like they sell at Home Depot or Lowe's. When Abigail is older, I think it would be fun for her to wash them off herself and play with, arrange them, sort them, whatever. For now, I picked up a small bag of already clean rocks from Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off. I think she'll love them. I just have to make sure they stay out of her mouth.

  10. Curious George dvd - We have the soundtrack by Jack Johnson and listen to it all the time. I've seen the movie and I think it's calm and gentle and that she'll enjoy it. Abigail will be 2 in January, so we'll start letting her watch more tv (she doesn't officially watch tv now, although we have our own shows on at times).

  11. Curious George book and stuffed animal - The last time I checked, Kohl's had Curious George as their $5 charity special right now. We are thinking about getting her a book and the character.

  12. stainless steel mug and insulated bowl - We saw these at some baby store in Chicago and we're thinking about getting them for her. The bowl would allow me to pack spaghetti for our trips out during the day when I know she won't share my sandwich (she doesn't care for bread). And we are considering stainless steel over plastic sippies.

  13. crayon roll - I've seen these on various blogs and actually at one local store. They seem to be a great way to keep the crayons contained. I've also seen one in a catalog that also contained a sketchpad. Abigail has a very large sketchpad, but a smaller one would be nice when we're in a restaurant or something. She's really too young for coloring sheets.

  14. matching games - I've seen some really imaginative matching game ideas at Chasing Cheerios. I'm thinking of making one involving family photos. We could match the photos or just name family members. And animal set could be really useful too.

  15. diaper bag with cloth diapers - I'm not sure how to go about making cloth diapers, but I see no reason for her to have disposables for play (we do use disposables on her). Abigail is very much into purses and bags, and I think would enjoy having a bag especially for her baby. I thought this was cute to base the idea on, but I'm not planning to buy this one. She could also use a new purse, since hers is falling apart and she keeps trying to steal some of mine.

  16. play clothes - I would eventually like Abigail to have dress-up clothes and a place to store them, either a trunk or a Waldorf rack-thing. I'll probably throw in some of my old prom dresses and shoes. As it is, she has a really cool terry-cloth kitten costume (looks like it was made out of a towel, but was purchased premade - it has a store tag) and a few Halloween costumes.

  17. Kitchen set - This is the biggie for me. I would like Abigail to have a well-made wooden kitchen set that includes a sink and stove and storage area, a fridge and/or a pantry. I had a wonderful metal set when I was about her age, but I remember it being crushed at some point. She has a plastic set right now but I think the set up is a little chaotic. Nice wooden sets are extremely expensive. I like this one, and this one. I also like this refrigerator. I would love to be able to make these myself or talk someone close into making it. I like the very simple look. I'm just not sure where to find plans to make something like this. The sink looks to be a challenge.

  18. Table and chairs - While we do have plastic tables and chairs, I think it would be nice to eventually have a nice wooden table and chairs. I'm looking into a mission style at the unfinished wood store. In Georgia the unfinished wood is mostly pine and aspen and completely affordable. In Kentucky, I've only been able to find oak and other expensive wood.

  19. Heavy, warm baby doll - I found this doll earlier this week and I'm wondering if it would be helpful for Abigail to snuggle while sleeping. Again, it's not cheap, but I'm not sure how I would make one of these.

I realize this is a long and imaginative list. I'm not expecting to get everything on this list this year by any means, but I would like to get her some of these things over time.


Cheryl said...

There are some prairie doll patterns on eBay that aren't too expensive, but the LIW Memorial Society Gift Shop sells Charlotte Prairie Dolls on their website, which you can find here:

Good luck!


Amy said...

I love all your ideas and that you are doing so much homemade stuff! I wish I could sew.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to make the heavy doll, too. Nicole made one, and she said it's not really hard. You might also enjoy a blog by a friend of mine: