I'm not shy about my opinion that we're on the downside of Hubberts curve. As we progress down I think more and more of us are going to need to rediscover the lost art of making and crafting.
These toys were made from some trash cardboard, construction paper, left over yarn, and scraps of flannel left over from making crib sheets and butt wipes. The only things I really bought were the little plastic needles and the stuffing for the blocks, since I used up the last of what I had halfway through the big block.
I got the idea for the sewing cards from a blog I stumbled across. I totally copied her design idea, but I just free-handed the 3 designs I liked onto the cardboard and cut them out. I traced the construction paper from those cardboard cutouts so they'd match, and the middles are the circumference of an oatmeal container. Then I glued them together and drew some faces and details on. I chose a thin cardboard, so my handheld hole punch was capable of punching through. Then I threaded yarn through all the holes so I could guesstimate the length needed, and tied a bead on. The bead does double duty, it keeps the kids from having to knot anything, and it keeps the needle trapped on the yarn. The yarn can be used for any of the 3 cards, without any rethreading of needles or picking apart knots. (Well, less picking apart of knots, I'm sure they'll manage to knot things somehow.) The first evening of play went over well, Rowen's been begging to help with the sewing for a few weeks now. He sees me quilting or sewing buttons or whatever, and he's sure he can help with that. Hopefully these will give him a way to channel that that doesn't slow me down as much. He caught on to the holes and the needle and how those work, he didn't have a nice clean stitch when he ran out of yarn, but he got the gist and did 3 cards worth before I put things away for bed. Not bad for a 2 year old.
The squishy stacking blocks came from an idea I had when Rowen was still gestating. The large block got cut out but never sewn together, and was sitting in my WIP pile. So, I finished it, stuffed it and made a second smaller block after I cut out a bunch of wipes this weekend. One WIP finished, scraps used up, total win.
Of course, doing-what-Daddy's-doing is still top of Rowen's list of fun.