Leave it to Jerusalem Greer of Jolly Goode Gal! With our August Family Homes issue onstands and online, Jerusalem introduces you to a few of her favorite family crafts. To share with your own children or give away to friends, these handmade DIY Craft & Play kits will ignite any child’s creativity and imagination. (And they’re fun for adults too!)
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I not-so-secretly hoped that I was having a girl. For lots of reasons, but primarily so I could have someone to craft and watch Anne of Green Gables with me. Well, life had other plans and 9 months later I gave birth to my second beautiful, amazing son. As it turns out, he is a crafting addict just like his momma. Life has also brought lots of other little and big girls into my life in a variety of ways, who are also happy to craft with me. Â These days our craft room is also our dinning room, which means that from time to time you might find some extra glitter stuck to a napkin or find yourself setting on a stray button or two, but the big table is the best place for everyone to gather and create.
My love for crafting has bled over into my gift giving as well. When Â possible I try and stay away from traditional store-bought gifts Â and give gifts that encourage creativity and imagination. Because I am also notorious for remembering the party/gift at the last minute and working with a tight budget, I try and create one theme a year and then stock up on the items needed when I find great sales and deals.
Here are a few of my favorite handmade DIY Craft & Play kits for kids of all ages:
I love this idea because you can purchase many of the items at discount and thrift stores. Also you can customize the colors to each child. This is on my gifts-to-give kit for 2011/2012. The grown-up version of this is a picnic kit, complete with vintage tablecloth for the picnic mat, vintage melamine plates and cups, and mix-n-match silverware, his and her thermoses and a can of bug spray for good measure, all packed in a great basket or retro cooler. Want to give a great family gift? Give the fort and the picnic kits!
Occasionally you can find these suitcase sets ready made, but how fun would it be to create your own? Perhaps use an vintage train case? Scavenge discounts stores, estate sales and craft boutiques for a unique combination of supplies. This one shows only sewing and textile craft items, but you could fill it with any and all types of crafty treasures.
A small personalized book bag with a few classics is a favorite. This is especially great for toddlers who are big enough to carry their own small bag on library trips. I have also given this to teenagers and adults, substituting books for magazine subscriptions at times.
These have been a hug hit, especially with my boys. We have raided the Army-Surplus store for Adventure and Army themed costume kits and thrift stores are a great place to put together kits for future Doctors, Teachers, Chefs, Handy Persons, Princesses and Super-Heros. Throw in a few small âtools of the tradeâ and a book on the subject and you have a great gift that will ignite the imagination of any kid.