Sunday, January 3, 2010

They’re Crafty…They’re Just My Type…

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I guess my DIY days were inevitable really. Papa and Mamaw (my mom and dad) are the original DIYers from back in the day. Old school, Bob Villa Pre-Sears style creative wonders. I put that craftiness to good use this Christmas. (I feel like I should say “Wonder Twin Powers ACTIVATE” right about here.)

Ok, where was I??? Oh, yes. Crafty Christmas 2009.

During a local park district class this fall, I noticed something interesting. Although, there were several fun crafts and activities to do during each class, most of the 2-3 year olds were completely engaged with this one simple activity/sensory table.

The table was filled each week with something different to sort out like beans, colored uncooked pasta and rice. The kids would stand there forever, just running their little paws through the stuff in the bins.

So began my search for B-boy’s (nick name for Braden) ultimate Christmas gift. I found out quick that these tables DO NOT come cheap! Ack! Some were $150 to $300!

Hmmm??? What to do?? I called Carpenter Dad and explained the basic idea. He was onboard and my mom was too! Go Team!

Ta-Da! Here’s the result.IMG_6343

He used a small piece of laminate countertop and some sturdy wood to construct a basic kids table. My mom found the bins and dad cut the holes just big enough to hold the bins in place by their rims. He also stained the wood and smoothed out all the edges for a very snazzy (pricey??) look.

Between my dad and my mom, they were able to create this fantastic table for around $10!! No joke.

Their talent: priceless. IMG_6000

On my end, I bought several boxes of pasta in various fun shapes and a few bags of dried beans. Then I colored the pasta using this “recipe”.

Coloring PastaIMG_6355

Items needed:

  • gallon sized zip bags
  • rubbing alcohol
  • food coloring
  • uncooked pasta
  • wax paper
  • cookie sheets

Place 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol in a plastic bag. Add several drops of desired color to alcohol. Add 1/2 pound pasta to each bag, close bag and shake to coat all of the pasta. Let each bag sit flat for one hour and then flip the bag. Let sit for an additional hour. This will give a deeper color. Open bag and spread on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Allow to dry overnight. Pasta needs to be completely dry before placing in a container.

IMG_6348It really is amazing how something so simple can stop a wild 2 year old in his tracks. Heck, my 6 year old even likes it!

So what do you think? Any other toddler/pre-school moms out there that have something similar to this?? Any other sorting ideas? I’m thinking about braving shaving cream in the bins one day. :)IMG_5979

Special thanks to my creative parents for putting together such a wonderful present for us. Homemade from the heart and treasured forever!


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
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  1. Wow! This looks like tons of fun for little ones! Too bad my woodworking skills aren't quite so advanced!

  2. Oh my son would love this! (and really needs one) I totally agree the prices are crazy on these and they are plastic. I am loving the wood - it looks like a nice piece of furniture. Definitly need one of these! Thanks for sharing. Your mom and dad get a pat on the back for this one!

  3. Just made the colored pasta--we are putting that on one side and dried beans on the other side of my son's "water table". Perfect alternative for the cold winter months. THANKS!

  4. this is SUCH a fantastic idea!! screw all those fancy toys kids are getting these days. this is the PERFECT way to let their creativity run wild :)

  5. What a cute idea! Love it! I need to make some colored pasta for my grandchildren to play with.

  6. What a great idea. My little guy would love this!
    And your little guy... what a cutie! :)

  7. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this- my husband doesn't know it yet, but he's making one of these for our granddaughter. What a great idea!!

  8. First I didn't read your post but scrolled down. At first I thought it was a pet feeding station because that's what I'd personally require it for.

    What a brilliant idea! Both of ours! LOL!!

    Thanks for linking up to SNS!

    FJ Donna

  9. Thanks for all of the lovely comments everyone! I really have to give my parents credit again on this one, although it was my idea. Glad to see so much positive feedback!

  10. I L.O.V.E. this idea! I'm finishing up my Master's in Occupational Therapy and truly appreciate the sensory-aspect of play. What a great experience your child will have with this wonderful toy!

  11. Very cute and creative're son is quite a cutie as well! I would love to find the perfect table to turn into a play table for my two boys. This is good inspiration.


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