Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tree Blocks

As I mentioned in this post, I'm getting a jump start on Christmas gift-making. Like last year, I'm planning on making most of James' gifts. We decided a while back to cut back on the amount of plastic we have in the house, specifically in James' playroom, and to invite more natural and homemade toys into our home instead. So far so good!

Recently, Paul and I made some tree blocks for one of James' Christmas gifts. I saw these at this online store last fall and knew I wanted to make a set of our own.Finding the materials proved surprisingly difficult. It was really important to me to find wood from a felled tree, but since there aren't any real forests here and since Bermudians keep the island impeccably clean, I had to wait and hope something would magically appear!

Imagine my surprise when while driving along I saw a pile of branches on the side of the road! I pulled over and once I found out they were on their way to the dump, I wasted no time in selecting a 6 foot branch for our blocks. I had to break off the attached smaller branches and I think I gave the tourists (waiting at a nearby bus stop) quite a laugh. Me, in my flip flops, stomping and wrestling with this big branch and then trying to stuff it into my very tiny car. :)

The thing I love most about these blocks is that Paul and I made them together for James. Paul sawed them into sections and I sanded down the rough edges.

Once they were all sanded and ready to go, the child in me took over and I began stacking and creating towers and castles. What fun!

I made a drawstring pouch to store them in. The pattern is of a cute and colorful forest. :)

I hope James likes them as much as we do!


~I'm linking this up to Creative Friday, Sharing Time, We Play and Tot Tuesday.~


~Thank you for your comments!~

39 comments:

Rebecca said...

What a cute idea! And i love the bag :)

Debbie said...

Those are really, really cool! I like the idea of less plastic.

Alison said...

I love these! It might be fun to add some larger platforms too though?

Wabi-Sabi Wanderings said...

I am sure that he will LOVE them. Who wouldn't? They are a beautiful versatile toy, for all ages ;-) And that fabric for the pouch? PERFECT!

Mari-Ann said...

Alison, I totally agree! All I could find were branches though. Maybe some day I'll run across a log!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

hose are so awesome.. I have nothing but fallen trees in my back yard:) I would love to do this too, hmmm.

rainbowmummy said...

OH MY GOODNESS WANT A SHOT, WANT A SHOT MY TURN!!!!

I mean, they are awful, send them to me and I will bin them. SEND THEM TO ME!!

Did it work? No? Boo. I'll probably end up buying these, I seen them ages ago and have been in love with them ever since.

I envy you, and your super tidy island too ;)

Nicole said...

Very nice! You'll be glad you made them - my littles play with ours all the time.

Pip said...

How lovely and even better as mummy and daddy made them. extra special!
I bought mine and the cos far more then i wanted to spend but they are just lovely to play with!
Well done you for being so Frugal!!
Pipxx

Montessori For Learning said...

Those are beautiful. I was also considering making my children gifts for Christmas and this is a wonderful idea. Thank you! (I'm not sure if I can get mine to look as good as those though!)

Eva said...

lovely! these have been on my to-do list too though I don't own a saw haha :) I know he will love them! I really like how you stored them in a pouch too

Cara said...

I love those blocks! I've got them on our toy wish list, but now I'll keep my eye open for some big branches or a tree that's being removed. What a funny image of you trying to stuff a tree branch in your little car! James will love them! Also, love the bag!

jeana said...

We have a few of those around here too. LOVE them!

Lindsay said...

okay this totally inspired Tim and I! We are going to make some for Christmas as well! I need to start getting started on his Christmas presents!

raisingdeeproots said...

Ha! It is T week around here & we are going out tomorrow after church in search of some old wood for the same project! Now you have me inspired to make a cute bag too....it never ends does it!!?? Yours turned out really cute!

raisingdeeproots said...

Ha! It is T week over here and we have plans for the same project tomorrow!!! Now I HAVE to make a bag to go with them....it never ends does it??!!! Yours look super!

What I Did Today said...

This is a GREAT gift! My oldest would love these! Not that I know from experience but I'm just guessing that since she adores rocks so much, she be thrilled about these. I may just need to copy cat you. Thanks for the inspiration!

Victoria said...

Oooh another good idea that I can make as a Christmas gift for my Little Bean, thank-you. Last week we went out collecting pine cones, to prepare Christmas decorations for friends and family, it seemed strange to be doing so in August! I am going to go out looking for logs and branches later this week :)

http://montessoripath.blogspot.com/
http://curiousinquisitivechild.blogspot.com/

Förskoleburken said...

These are wonderful! I really like that your idea with homemade gifts! We use these kind of blocks in a sensorial tub, e. g with lenses/rise /sand and plastic dinosaurs. The kids love it!

domesticsimplicity.com said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE these!!! Definitely adding to my list of Christmas projects - thanks so very much for the fantastic idea/inspiration:)

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

So cute!! My hubby and i made a set of these last week for our girls but couldn't save them for Christmas!
The girls have been having so much fun playing store ("selling their tree sculptures") They call the store "Wood Works"

: )
MaryLea

Crunchy and Green said...

My Dad made my daughter a set for her 3rd birthday last month, and she just LOVES them. I am sure James will enjoy his just as much. I love your bag idea for storage, I may have to make something similar for our set.

Beth- the mama bee said...

We love our set. You might want to find some flat pieces as well. They have been great for turning the tree pieces into forts and bridges, etc. http://mamabeefromthehive.blogspot.com/2009/12/lous-blocks-and-rhythm-sticks.html
We so enjoy ours!

homeage said...

Those are very lovely, I hope he likes them too.

I would love to enforce a "less plastic" rule, but you can't get a natural elements Barbie, can you? *sigh*

jenny said...

These look gorgeous, as does the bag. We have also used driftwood to make blocks if this is easier for you to come by.

Juliet Robertson said...

Lovely idea! Thanks for posting. I'd recommend befriending a tree surgeon or landscape gardener. I'm lucky to be married to a forester who has access to lots of wood.

Raising a Happy Child said...

What a wonderful Christmas present! I will be on the lookout for that "perfect branch" too :)

Martianne said...

I saw these in a catalog once and wanted them, too. Seeing your homemade ones makes me realize it is do-able. Thanks.

Be A Fun Mum said...

I want to do this too!!!

I've come over from Childhood 101 We Play

beafunmum.com

SquiggleMum said...

I have some wood sitting downstairs ready to do exactly the same thing! A tree was being cut down on our street, so I raced over and rescued a few small logs. Can't wait to cut mine up for the kids too.

eidolons said...

We're making some of these for our middle son for his birthday next month. We've had the branches sitting out front for a while. Hopefully we'll get around to cutting them before it's too late! (:

Jenn @ Delicious Ambiguity said...

What an awesome idea! Wish I had a set. I'm featuring you on Tot Tuesdays today :)

The Activity Mom said...

Those are just so cool!

Abbie said...

These are AWESOME! I am absolutely making a set for my girls. Thanks for the great idea.

Sheau said...

we have been wanting to make these for a while. look very beautiful. can you share which type of sanding paper you used?

Alexa said...

What kind of tools did you use? We are about to make some too!(: thanks!
Alexa

Counting Coconuts said...

We used basic tools - a hand saw and sandpaper (not sure what grade). :)

kimhuff5 said...

how long did it take to do the sanding? This is a great idea, I would love to do this for Christmas, I have been looking for great home made ideas :)

Counting Coconuts said...

Kimhuff5: It's been a couple of years, so I can't recall exactly how long it took. I believe I did it all in one afternoon/a few hours.

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