In a perfect world, my kids' rooms would be filled with beautiful, handcrafted toys made out of natural materials. I love, in theory, the idea that the simpler the toy, the more creatively little people play with it. Unfortunately, the exasperating reality is that our house is well and truly overrun with plastic crap. It breeds. It is my nemesis.
Last week I went to a Playcentre workshop on felting, and learned how to do basic wet felting, and a little bit of needle felting - and, because I clearly need a new hobby (sarcasm intended) I've become hooked. It's so very, very satisfying, squishing a soft ball of wool into a felted ball. It's messy, it's squelchy, it's fibre and colour and warm water all rolled into one. So, in the spirit of handmade-natural-gifty-goodness, I made these balls for a little friend who has just turned one. I needle-felted the spots and spiral onto them before wet-felting them; the darker one is wrapped with Tekapo summertime yarn (which is sort of felted into the ball.)
We've done this on session at Playcentre with some of the older kids, and it worked really well as an activity...I tried it at home too and it wasn't so successful. Just in case you were feeling similarly inclined I just thought I'd let you know that it's quite possible for balls made by kids to end up looking a little scraggly...maybe just a little like something the cat spewed up. Just sayin'.
I got my felting wool from here, and similar instructions to those I received at the workshop can be found here.