Owen’s birthday is coming up next week (He’ll be 2!), and Aidan worked with us to make him a set of wooden blocks! Aidan has been learning some beginning woodworking lately, and we thought that blocks would be a simple thing to make.

Owen is hard to shop for. We already have plenty of boy toys around our house, and Owen hardly plays with the ones we have. He is starting to love looking at books and being read to, so I’m sure he’ll get a couple of books for his birthday, especially since he ruined MANY of our books during his paper eating phase. He’s not entirely out of that phase yet, by the way, but this post is supposed to be about blocks, so getting back to that…

We went to Home Depot to get some wood for our blocks. Home Depot sells scrap lumber for $0.51, $1.01, and $1.51 depending on the size of the piece. We bought two flat boards for 51 cents each, a 2″ x 4″ board, and a 2″ x 3″ board (non-scrap for the last two). Total for all this wood was $5.50! Not bad!

We started out with 4″ square blocks by cutting 4″ segments off of the 2X4. Then, Aidan sanded them smooth. We quickly realized that even with a pencil line, neither of us could saw a straight line… We’re beginning carpenters here…

So we got out our miter box set to make straighter cuts, and also to cut some of the blocks at angles (to make them triangle shaped). Dad was the best at the 45 degree angle cuts since he has the strength to hold the boards still! Aidan can make straight cuts with the miter box, but not the angles yet.

Here is our finished set! They’re not all cut very straight, and our scrap boards ended up being pretty warped (check for that if you buy out of the bargain bin!), but Aidan did a lot of the work himself, and he now has a hand-made gift to give his brother!

Our flat pieces make good roofs, or can be used as ramps for cars!

We also have quite a bit of wood left – we’re thinking that a bathtub boat might be a good next project!

My parents brought over some small tree branches from their yard clippings today, and I’m planning to make some tree blocks like these at Counting Coconuts. They will go well with the other blocks if we get them done in time!

What ideas do you have for homemade toddler toys? I’d love to get some more ideas!

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday


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  1. Roxie May 11, 2011

    I love hand made toys for children. I have been doing day care for more than 20 years. Blocks are always a favorite toy here.
    My father did a lot of wood working. He would use his scrap wood to shape blocks for me. I am lucky to have 100's of blocks made by my father in all different kinds of wood too. We lost my dad to cancer 8 years ago. Those blocks that he made for my day care children are always played with and are a treasure to me.
    I am sure your son will get years of pleasure from the blocks too.

  2. Kimberlee May 11, 2011

    What a great b-day gift idea. Wooden blocks have gotten so expensive to buy. bookmarking this page to show hubby. Luckily we have a power saw thing that will do all of the fancy cuts.
    {Disposing of Sewing Needles}

  3. Dewitt Thornborrow Jan 9, 2013

    there are so many birthday gift ideas out there but i like some original creative b-day ideas.;

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  4. john michael linck Aug 21, 2013

    I have made hardwood unit blocks for 38 years, but your project is just the best. There is no better toy than one made by a loved one for a loved one. Congrats!

    john the toymaker


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