Gifts for Creative Souls

As happens this time of year, we are buried under piles of catalogs! When I have a minute, I sit down and see what’s new… or what’s old. I thought some of you might enjoy a few gift ideas for the younger set – or if you are like me – you’d like one or two of these gifts under your tree! I have no problem with all the techie stuff available, but I do think children (and adults) need to feed their souls with handwork and “making” as people say now.

Here is a pot holder loom. Perhaps you grew up making potholders with loopers when you were young, but I bet you’ve never seen such cool ideas for the patterns. Harrisville Designs sells the looms and brightly colored loopers and has all sort of ideas for weaving great patterns. It made me want to buy one for myself, but I still have plenty of loopers for making rugs.

Potholder loom

Knitting knobbies… I wonder how many hours on one Christmas day I spent working on a tube. I don’t recall actually making anything with what I “knit” but I sure enjoyed doing it. Today there is so much to discover online and I saw some very clever projects that people had made with the tubes (like a placemat!). It’s very good for hand-eye coordination and lots of fun.

I am not sure that I ever had a set of Colorforms , but I know I played with them because I can remember the plastic smell of them. Nowadays there are lots of “themed” sets with popular cartoon characters, but I think the classic set with just shapes is still the best. My grandparents had toys and puzzles and games in what I think of as their magical cupboard. I know they had Tangrams, which is another way to play with patterns. There are several ways to “use” them. There should be pattern cards included in the box and the idea is to reproduce the pattern using the shapes. It goes from easy to very hard! The other way is just to play. Years and years ago, I went to a children’s museum with a nephew and they had a huge magnetic wall covered with tangrams! Even though I was not yet a quilter, I sat on the floor and made patterns – it was irresistible.

Tangrams

Oh my, this is such a fun thing to do and a classic Christmas gift. I googled Spirograph to see what the history was, and it’s quite interesting. Drawing with gears is what Wikipedia calls it and it was first designed in the late 1800’s. No surprise there; what a time for inventing and creating. Should you want to understand the math behind it, it’s all there. It made my head spin! ;-D Honestly, spinning the gears around to make patterns is mesmerizing. {Do you recognize the box??? If you do, you must be my age.}

Spirograph

When I was in Bucks County, I discovered an amazing store, filled with games and puzzles and loads of interesting things. It’s called JaZams and I wish there were one near me. One construction type game that struck me was Q-Ba-Maze. This set has 72 rainbow-colored plastic pieces that you use to construct a pathway for marbles! Doesn’t that sound like fun? I’ve been debating whether our 3 great nephews are too old…

qbamaze_big_boxM

I got pretty into this topic, as you can tell, but I’ll stop with this last item. I bought something like this for my niece-in-law but never heard whether she used it or if her kids thought it was fun. It’s called Let’s Make More Great Placemat Art and it’s a way to keep your kids entertained in that dreaded hour or so before dinner. This one is pretty fancy in that it gives prompts and ideas for the drawing to get the kids interested. Google it and I’m sure you will find others. I know I would have loved this!

And before I’m done, the teacher in me feels the need to say that any creative sort of present you give to kids works best with you assisting and encouraging, which I learned during my first student teaching gig. I remember there was one boy who could play for hours in the building blocks area alone, but most of the kids did so much more with an adult nearby. Showing interest and perhaps gently suggesting a way to go or asking about what the child is creating is hugely important! Have fun!

N.B. I read a lot of blogs that advertise things and get money if you click on the link, but I guess I should say that I am not promoting any of these places. I am just recommending some fun things to buy and giving you a place where you might find it!

 

 

3 thoughts on “Gifts for Creative Souls

  1. It was such fun to read this and reminisce! Loved Colorforms! Loved my pot holder maker! LOVED my Spirograph and, in fact, bought one at a garage sale last summer. Great ideas for helping kids create!

  2. You’ve reminded me of when I was a child, we’re talking over 60 years ago, and my sister and I would sit on the porch and make hundreds of these potholders – literally. We gave them as presents for any reason – birthdays, holidays, thank-you presents. We did this for years and to be honest, this craft was probably the beginning of my interest in making things…the origin of my creativity! I’d forgotten about this until just now. I’m going to go out and buy one of these because I could use some more potholders and these really did work! Thanks for the memories. What a great post. Patsye

    • Thanks so much Kerry & Patsye! I realized as I sent it off that most everything was a walk down memory lane! But they are really good gifts for anyone and have stood the test of time. Do post pictures of your potholders P and check out the Harrisville site for great ideas…

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