Christmas is a mere three months away and now is the perfect time to start on some DIY gifts for your boy before the silly season rush makes it all seem too hard.
A fort kit, a dinosaur jumper and a busy board are simple to create but are so impressive that the cousins and neighbours will be putting in orders in no time!
DIY fort kit
A few basic materials can lead to hours of open-ended and imaginative fun for boys of all ages. The perfect toy to take to a sleepover, this fort kit will bring out the adventurer/explorer/survivor in your boy.
- 2 flat sheets (you may have some old or mismatched ones at the back of your linen closet or you can easily pick some up from an op shop)
- Pillow case or eco shopping bag
- Old t-shirt
- Sewing machine
- Cut six horizontal strips from the bottom of an old t-shirt. Cut the strips at the seams so you get two lengths that are approximately 30 centimetres (12 in total). Tie a knot at each end so it doesn’t fray and then stretch the length out so it curls and becomes rope-like.
- Lay the sheet out and pin a folded “t-shirt rope” to each corner as well as the middle of the longest side. Sew the ropes in place using a zigzag pattern on a sewing machine. Repeat for the other sheet.
- While the sewing machine is out, you can make a bag for the fort kit out of a pillow slip. Fold the top edge over and sew around, leaving an opening of 3 centimetres. Thread through some nylon rope or ribbon so the bag can pull closed. Alternatively, use an unmarked eco grocery bag.
- Put the folded sheets as well as the other materials in the bag.
- Make or print a fun label like the one we found at Saltwater Kids and attach to the outside of the bag.
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If you are looking for a foolproof introduction to the sewing machine, look no further than this ultra-cool dinosaur jumper. The perfect compromise for when your boy wants to wear his superman costume in public: By donning his dinosaur jumper he can still feel in character and you won’t feel embarrassed.
- Hooded jumper
- Cardboard triangle template (side of 7 centimetres but adjust depending on the size of the jumper, ours was size 2)
- Sewing machine
- Place the cardboard triangle on folded felt and trace so that when it is cut, you will end up with a diamond.
- Fold the jumper in half so you can determine the midpoint of the back of the jumper.
- Pin the diamonds in place and then sew straight down the middle of the jumper, securing them as you go.
- Join the tips of the diamonds together so you have a triangle and sew around the two top edges. Repeat for each tip.
- Trim any triangles that didn’t join up perfectly.
- Don’t throw out the cardboard template because no doubt you will be asked to make this again and again.
This is the perfect gift for curious toddlers to explore and develop their fine motor skills. There are no right or wrong gadgets to include — take into account your child’s interests and what you have in the garage or what you can find at a second-hand building supply store.
- Plywood (ours was 90 centimetres x 50 centimetres pre-cut from Bunnings and cost about $5)
- Odds and ends that you would like to attach — we included wooden letters of the child’s name, nails to make a geoboard, a pizza baking sheet to act as a magnetic board, a mirror, a wheel, a latch, a screw and nuts, taps for turning and a touch light
- Nails and hammer
- Screws and screwdriver
- Paint and paintbrush
- Double-sided tape
- Paint your plywood in your chosen colour and leave to dry.
- Paint the wooden letters and set aside.
- Place everything on the board to make sure it fits and then attach it in the most appropriate way. You don’t need to be super handy with the tools and remember that double-sided tape is surprisingly strong.
- For the geoboard, measure out dots on a piece of paper and then tape in place on the plywood. Lightly tap on the dots with a nail and hammer and then remove paper and attach nails so they are straight and approximately the same height.
- Consider how you are going to attach it to the wall. You won’t need to do it until Christmas, but remember that the board will be quite heavy and will need to be fastened to a stud.