With all the cyclone type weather and storms we have had over the past few weeks we have had a lot of fallen trees across our property. Although there has been a lot of time unfortunately spent clearing trees it has also provided the perfect opportunity to create some building blocks from nature!
I have been asking His Patient Self to help me make some of these blocks for the toddler twosome for quite a while now and a few weekends ago it became a family project!
They really are a fantastic natural play resource and so easy to make yourself…no need to break the budget buying some! The play opportunities they provide are limited only to a child's imagination!
His Patient Self cut various thicknesses from across different parts of a fallen branch and then gathered the toddler twosome to help him do a little sanding just to smooth off some of the sharper bark edges….
You can of course do this little job with some sandpaper but this would be a little difficult for the girls to master at 2.5 yrs and by using the orbital sander they were all able to join in at once and there was the pure joy of being able to use one of Daddy's tools!
The orbital sander did not hurt their hands in any way…i was a little concerned so tested it myself first! Because it just moves around in circles basically it just felt like a vibration to the girls. A fantastic sensory experience for them both but especially Ruby!
I absolutely loved coming out onto the verandah to this scene of Daddy/Daughters time. The girls were so immersed in the importance of their task and helping Dad ‘make tree blocks'. They showed real pride each time they helped to sand a block!
After a light sanding you could just leave them natural or rub a little wax into them. Because i will be using them as a home daycare toy and they will be getting lots of extra use i wanted to ensure they were finished to withstand a whole lot of indoor and outdoor use so we coated them with a layer of clear varnish.
We then left them for a few days to dry completely. I just love how they turned out and can't wait to make a few more of different thicknesses and lengths!
As soon as i put them out onto the table the toddler twosome began stacking and rolling and finding other items to add to their new block towers! I think they really enjoyed knowing how the blocks had been made and where they had originated from.
As we have been stuck indoors all week I decided to bring a little sensory fun and exploration to the verandah and enjoyed incorporating our new tree blocks…..
A little wet sand (because our sand shells are currently overflowing with water after the wind blew the lids away!), a few dinosaurs, some bridges, favourite zoo animals, the new tree blocks, a couple of people and our lovely wooden houses and trees from the talented Happy Whimsical Hearts all on our trusty tray placed on the verandah…. and the girls woke from their afternoon nap to find a magical world and invitation to play!
The sand tray offered a challenge to the girls senses at first as the wet sand stuck to their hands but they soon realised it provided a great base to stick the animals and people into and they stayed there quite easily. They loved making animal footprints in the wet sand too!
I enjoyed observing the social opportunity it provided for them and they worked together to create their own special little world….with a lot of direction from Tara of course (it's what she does best!)
They both realised that they could move some of the pebbles and logs behind other items to keep them propped where they wanted them….a wonderful opportunity to practice fine motor, problem solving and spatial awareness skills!
I rarely do sensory/small world activities that are so ‘prepped' but in this case I knew the girls would enjoy moving around all the objects to create their own little space…some things were removed altogether from the tray, some just changed ends, many were re positioned numerous times….the ordered little world I created didn't stay that way for long…and that is exactly what I wanted to see!
Hinterland Mama says
Your daughters must have been in heaven, during this entire post! Making with Daddy, then waking to a wonderland by clever Mummy. LOVE Kelly (Happy Whimsical Hearts) woodwork 🙂
I too have been collecting fallen branches to make tree blocks. I have a coping saw, but am in the process of finding the perfect scroll saw. So still they sit under our stairs… 🙂
What type of wood are these made from? They’re gorgeous!
lavender beeswax oil is divine! Smells and feels wonderful on tree blocks! Love it 🙂
Happy Whimsical Hearts says
So wonderful to see the fairy doors and trees in action! I love the little launch-pad world you created for them, that they then made their own 🙂 And how special for them to have helped their dad make the blocks! I have a few thick branches lying outside ready for me to do the same ~ just need to do it!
Oh my, what fun! I loved the sanding idea too. I wouldn’t have even thought of using a sander to create a sensory activity.
Yes, what types of wood? I would love to make some of these too.
My husband made some of these for my daughter, too. If you end up making more, try making them at different heights that will “add up”–like 1″, 2″, and 4″. That way, they’ll be stackable, and your kids can make towers of the same size using different pieces.
Bekka Joy says
This is gorgeous! I love how they’ve created such a wonderful adventure out of these materials!
I’ve wanted to do blocks like these for a long time… since reading about loose parts. 🙂 Now I think I might just have the motivation! Your FDC kids will be very lucky to have you! 🙂
tree blocks are the best things ever! So versatile and free!! It’s the best thing about getting firewood! LOL
Janine LaTulippe says
Truly a beautiful addition to your block collection! I love them and will be making some as soon as I can get outside and find some great branches for the DIY block project. Thanks for sharing your simple and fun idea!
Pat G says
I tried to make these wonderful blocks from an oak tree that fell in my yard. After cutting and varnishing them, they all cracked & split and were unusable. I wonder if you had this happen as well and any pointers you can give me?