A Great Homemade Toy (and Home Schooling Get Together)

Earlier on in the week, I took my kids to their first ever "homeschooling get together". Homeschooling is pretty rare in my area, and though my children do have friends, they had yet to meet kids their age who learned exclusively at home until a few days ago.
My kids had a great time, making new friends, tasting their first green smoothies, doing creative projects from recycled material, while I chatted with the parents there about many of our common interests, like health, cooking, frugality, and homeschooling. We even went on a foraging walk together, and while I knew more than some of the parents there, I was happy to learn new foraging tricks. (Like, did you know that you can eat nettles raw if you smash the stinging hairs first with your finger, going with the direction of the hairs and squeezing the leaf?) I also debated aspects of vegan diets with these people, as they're all vegans, and discussed GMO's and ethical farming, and so many other topics. I even got my first up close and personal view of a CSA box (and am considering possibly joining a local one).

 But all that preamble is just to explain the background of where I saw this really cool toy, made out of recycled material, and educational and can be used in so many different ways. I asked the dad if I could show take a picture to show it to you readers, because I thought it was a terrific idea that you might like to try out yourself if you have young kids. He was happy to share the idea with me for me to share with you. (And there's a good chance he's reading this, so I just wanted to publicly say thank you!)

As you can see, its a board (dumpster dived from an old freestanding closet that someone was throwing away) with nails nailed into it in a grid, and with a container of hair bands with which you can create pictures, make letters, write words or numbers, etc... on the nails.

To make one of your own:
1. Take a piece wood. If the edges are rough, sand it to prevent splinters.

2. Using a ruler, draw a grid of lines with a pencil on the board. In this version it was  a grid of 8 by 9 lines, crisscrossing each other 72 times, but if I'd make this, I'd probably try to make it a 10 by 10 grid.

3. Nail a nail on the grid at each point where the lines intersect. Don't nail them in all the way- you want most of the nail to be sticking out. Use nails with a wide head.

4. Nail a disposable type plastic container or two (ideally with a cover) to the bottom half of the board, and fill with multicolored pony tail holders. To keep this cheap, perhaps use a plastic container from a food you bought, like a cream cheese tub. (Just make sure to clean out the container very well first.)

Enjoy your toy!

Have you ever seen a toy like this, either homemade or in the store? If you have, have your lids enjoyed playing with it?
If you homeschool, are there many homeschoolers in your area, or are you an oddity? Are most of your kids' friends other homeschoolers or schooled kids? Do you go to homeschooling get togethers? How often do you go?
If you're a traditional foodie like myself, do you get into discussions with vegans about healthy eating, or do you steer clear? Does it make a difference to you if the people are vegans for health reasons or ethical reasons?

This blog post is sponsored by Giraffe Montessori

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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