My neighbor's son just turned 2. I was faced with a problem. I really don't have a lot of money right now, and I know that my neighbor is not a fan of toys with bright flashing lights that make loud noises. She's pretty education oriented, so I knew she'd appreciate a gift that leaned more in that direction.
I really think that making gifts for friends is much nicer than buying things, especially for kids. Adults are a little different (unless it's grandma), but for kids, a handmade gift can go just as far as a noisy $50 toy.
Like I said, I didn't have a lot of money, so I looked around the house to see what I had, and then headed to the craft store to buy as little as possible (huge feat for me).
I succeeded! I only spent $10, and at Ben Franklin's that's not a lot, here in Hawaii craft supplies are really expensive. If you live on the mainland please bask in the glory of Michael's and their constant receipt coupons. I miss it.
So these are the things I came up with:
Portable chalkboard and chalk
Play Dough and Decorated Container
Chalkboard paint is great because you can use it on anything. Go to the craft store and check out all the little wood pieces. There's plain boards, frames, boxes, and cutout shapes. So much to choose from! I picked a plain board that wasn't too heavy.
Give the board a few coats of paint. I used the spray paint version, but it also comes in a can. I honestly don't know if one is better than the other. I like the spray can because it's less messy.
I picked up a cheap box of chalk to go with it.
For the container I found a little plastic one with a metal lid. Then looked for some stickers in the scrapbooking section. I already talked to my neighbor about her son being able to peel these off. So if you need to you might want to glue them down.
The play dough I made myself, you can check out my play dough recipe here.
That's it! I put all this together in about 30 minutes!