The kids are getting a homemade Christmas at our house. Hubby and I have found that we don't need to buy them much because 1. We don't want it to be so much about what has been purchased for them 2. It makes the special goodies that we make or do buy for them that much more special 3. I buy them goodies all year and can't wait until a holiday to give it to them and 4. They have plenty of grandparents (and are the only grand kids) who love to shop for them. They don't want for a lot.
Here's the first two finished items for Lou: rhythm sticks
I cut 2 oak dowel rods in 12 inch sections. They were then sanded and smoothed out. We sing a little song at the library that Lou loves. It kinda goes like this: "tap your sticks, tap your stick, tap your sticks until the music stops." Then you go on to many other actions, rub your sticks, roll your sticks, tap your knees, end to end, tap the floor, shake your sticks, etc.
This one is my favorite. The natural blocks are finished. My dad was great and helped get all these bad boys sanded. We only went through three band aids. We found some extra pieces in the scrap wood box to make platforms and bridge pieces.
After seeing some other sets online, especially the one at One Inch World, I threw in some rocks. It's now blocks and rocks. There was some debate over if they needed a finish, but we went with none. (If you haven't been to One Inch World before, haed on over and check them out- they do a lot of open ended projects with their kids and share those fun ideas.)
I whipped up a good size drawstring bag to hold everything.