Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wooden sorting toys for the very young

Lately I have been trying very hard to find a little time to make something creative, no matter how small or simple it is or how quickly it comes together. Making things makes me happy. The way I figure it is right now I could technically sweep the floor 4 or 5 times a day but it would still look exactly the same by the time dinner is over. So instead of spending every moment I'm not playing with or reading aloud to kids, or changing diapers and wiping rear ends, cleaning the ever messy house, I am taking a little time (at least every once in a while) to do something fun. And fun for me is making stuff! For the record, I do still sweep the floor at least twice a day :-) but I find that I can work myself to utter exhaustion and my house will never look perfect, it's just a small house filled with many small messy people. I keep it comfortable for our family with the big boys' help and try not to worry about the rest!

Now this is actually what I started the whole post to tell you about: First is the little wooden box I decorated to store the wooden sorting toys I made for Claire last week. I really like how pretty it turned out. The original artwork is from a very old children's reader from the 1920's. (I love very old children's books and keep adding to our collection every chance I get.) I drew it with pencil on the top of the little box and burnt in all of the details with my handy dandy wood burner and painted it with very dilute water colors.

 Claire has shown a lot of interest lately in sorting  and matching things. So I decided to make her a simple set of wooden sorting toys. She adores little wooden peg people, she calls them her "babies". So I painted up 2 different sized sets of them in rainbow colors. Then I painted little wooden pots for them to fit into, to match each set of her peg people "babies".

She really enjoys playing with these and asks for her new toys to be taken off the shelf so she can play  with them every day.  I keep them up high where she can't reach them by herself for right now since some of them are quite small. She does not put them in her mouth, however I only allow her to play with them when I can sit with her and supervise the entire time, as they are small enough to pose a choking hazard. Plus two of our foster children do put toys into their mouths constantly... so I keep these up and out of the way most of the day, for safety's sake.

She also enjoys putting the babies with their daddies. Matching both colors and large and small... she is the one that told me the big "people" were the Daddies and the little ones the babies!

Silly face. She was pleased with herself for matching them all correctly. 

After playing she likes to put her babies to "sleep" in the box. She actually takes each one out of it's pot and lays it on the floor of the box and tells them "night-night" and closes the lid.

Doesn't that look like a better use of my time than sweeping the floor for the umpteenth time in a day?! I certainly think so. Plus the added benefit is that while she usually wakes up from her nap between a half hour and one hour earlier than the other little ones I can let her play with these at the table (or on the table like in these pictures) while I sew or work on something else fun beside her!

{P.S. The other little ones mentioned in this post were three foster children, all toddlers, all still in diapers! They have since left our care, but at the time I was truly busy changing diapers and cleaning all day long!- Just wanted to mention that to avoid confusion- updated January 2013}


  1. You did such a good job on these. Great idea and I love the lid.

  2. Of course it is! There was never any doubt in my mind, although you made particularly good use of your time in this case. I love it! Neat idea and beautiful art work!

  3. That's a really fantastic idea! I think my little one would love it. And that picture you burned onto it is really beautiful!

  4. great idea! love the box and the endless game of games inside....
    thanks for sharing

  5. Wonderful art work, and a great idea, cheers Marie

  6. This is what I want to make my little lady for Christmas!! So sweet! Where did you buy the matching pots/peg people? And did you use water colors to paint them? Anything on top to finish them? Sorry for all of the questions - and thanks for any help!


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