Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I Made These Wooden Medals And I Loved It!

Remember these 20 scrap wood toy projects I shared recently? #2 - The Wooden Medals - had me at "hello". The idea is remarkably simple, attractive, highly customizable. Easy! So I made them. And I loved it! 

This project is absolutely beginner-level, though involves sewing, woodworking, and assemblage. If you don’t feel confident about making your own wood cuts from scratch, you can easily order some online from any crafts site.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How To Play With Busyboard: 7 Foolproof Ways

entertain your kid with these games

Congratulations - you made it! Or your husband made it, or your grandpa or you just ordered one. You've got a shiny new busyboard in your home. Now what?

You definitely don't want this big, heavy and often costly sensory board to be overlooked or tossed away. Did it ever happen to you that your toddler only took a glance at the new cool toy and walked away without even a slightest "meh" about it? I know your pain.

So, the least you can do is apply baby to the board and hope for better. Busyboards and babies are made for each other, so on the top level, it will do. As the boards include elements which are otherwise a baby no-no, the little rascals will immediately get their tiny hands on those. 

If, however, you spent too many efforts on this learning board and want to get some actual learning in return, there is more than one way to do it. Sit next to your toddler and show how adults can handle busyboard. Take this play to the next level like a boss. 


role play with busyboard

Friday, August 4, 2017

Old Sock Bunnies Are Totally Among Few Of My Favorite Things

This little star-spangled sock bunny from the very beginning of my blog is still alive and kicking!

I was indescribably happy to find him all well when we got back from Vietnam. Who knew an old sock can last so long? If the baby is soon to turn 5, so the bunny is even older. Sheesh. Should throw a birthday party for him.

That's what he looked like right before Emir was born:

Pretty similar to what we have now. On the recent photo, he looks more... chilled? Well, he has been around for a while and definitely made himself at home. 

By the way, do your kids watch the "Gravity Falls"? Emir is crazy about it. And we enjoy it quite much, too. It's great how the creators swapped the gender stereotypes from earlier cartoons, making a boy a smartie and a girl the one with crazy ideas. The language can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable (nothing explicit, just rude-ish like 'shut up' and stuff). The plot, though, is catching. The evil triangle is my absolute champ.

Fancy getting more sneak peeks on cool toys around our place? Follow my Instagram feed for our everyday custom creations. And for my vibrant fruit salads, too!  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How To Keep Up Your Workouts And Use Your Chalkboard

Did I ever tell you I have a chalkboard door at my place? I do! Can’t believe I didn’t share this project. I painted it when I was pregnant with Emir. I did my own chalk paint, following Martha's instructions, and it worked out pretty well. 

It did scratch off a bit, but that was rather my fault. NOTE: don’t scribble on it immediately after wiping off chalk with a soaking wet rag. When still very wet, the paint layer can be torn off. Other than that, this recipe is just perfect. 

We’ve had this door for about 5 years now. With two kids and a pack of creative adults around, I can say that it performs wonderfully. 

So, while the kid is away at granny’s country house, I decided to utilize chalkboard for momma’s needs. Or should I say, momma’s show-off? 

Friday, July 28, 2017

20 Simple Scrap Wood Toys You'll Love To Make

Do you enjoy woodworking projects? I love them. Over years I made dozens of cool things. Wood is the best material for kids - it's cheap, natural, and sturdy. I love to harvest it, or buy it in the store, or use reclaimed wood. All wood is good. 

As I work on the boards, shelves, workbenches, chairs etc. (my family has even built few houses we own), I never can let go of all the scrap wood cuts. They pile in the corners, and every now and then I will cut off a piece I need. So they become smaller, and smaller, and smaller. In the very end, when they're no good for anything else, you can make scrap wood toys! 

Over few years I collected my favorite ideas on Pinterest board, and now I'd love to share them with you. The internet is full of wooden toys, but what I looked for was simplest rough creations with a quirky twist. When I make toys out of scrap wood, I really don't want to get too busy with measuring or polishing. I just want to throw it all together and have fun. 

Hence these easy scrap wood projects for kids will be a perfect weekend fun activity for you and your little ones. Or, if you're a school teacher, you may use these ideas in class. Most of them need very little preparation and are very customizable. 

Let's begin! 


Friday, July 21, 2017

Forget About Losing Your Pen With This Simple Hack

Who doesn’t love the pretty notebooks? It’s one of the most important daily essentials for every maker, every mom, and by far for every maker mom. That’s where all the ideas go to simmer on the back stove before you’re ready to make them happen. And this is the place for all the to-do lists, of course! Where would we be without momma’s to-do lists? Not even planned. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Five Awesome Childish Installations to Get Inspired

How to make a busy-board? Besides having few tools and some supplies - which helps - you also need a certain mindset. You can achieve it. Shift your view from adult perception to childish desire to fool around with things.  

Try to remember what you messed around with most when you were a toddler. Did you turn off the light in WC all the time? Locked up anyone outdoor in freezing cold? Pulled the rotary phone off the hallway table? Let's refresh these emotions.

A great way to find inspiration for DIY toys is children museums. Oversized objects and tactile experiences bring the childhood vibe back. Skip the science and go straight to interactive play installations. Yes, usually it’s gears and wheels and construction blocks, but quite often they do get more creative. Let me share with you some of my favorite ideas.  

Sky Villages by James Paulius for Brooklyn Children's Museum. A great idea on the intersection of interactive installation and building blocks. And clouds, of course, that’s exactly why it’s N1 on my list

Image credit: James Paulius

A Cork Pixel Wall by Tali Buchler for Community Center in Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Nothing new about using cardboard and wine corks. But Tali did a great job by creating a unified space with holistic and stylish experience. 

 Image credit: Nirit Gur-Karby

The Journey of Chinese Characters at the Beijing World Art Museum. I love how this installation is so visual and stuffed with knowledge. And still on the fun side thanks to an abundance of the hands-on elements. It’s worth going all the way to Beijing! 

Image credit: 2x4 Inc

Circle-shaped rooftop playground of the Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo. This concept is perfect. How do you get the kid not to run away from you? You don’t. You loop the runway and stand there sipping your green tea while the kids are trotting by again and again. Genius! 

Image credit: TED

Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama - now on display in Singapore National Gallery. A marvelous piece. I adore how Madame Kusama found a way to document the transforming magic of children’s touch. A new challenge for me. I'd love to incorporate some elements with a similar effect into busy-boards. Gotta brainstorm about it! 

Image credit: The Art Elephant

So, how to get inspired? Consider your upcoming busy-board your kid's own private interactive installation. And now, do your best! Try experimenting with shapes, sounds, forms, textures, materials, kinetics and visuals. Maybe, you'd like to make it all black-and-white for your baby. Maybe you'd like to include more fun faces for the emotional development. By the way, you can make great faces on busy-boards. Try combining door-chain and two rollers - check this Princess board to get the idea. Also, you can set a whole area of your busy-board for magnets, stickers, or include a lego base sheet. Embrace the endless opportunities! 

Do your local children museum has an installation you and your kids enjoy? Feel free to share in the comments section - that’s where ideas are born!