It feels like I spend a LOT of my time thinking about presents for kids, and I’ve been so happy that lately I’ve been making craft kits, sticker books, and t-shirts instead of buying toys that may or may not ever see the light of day. I recently came up with another idea: an on-the-go doodle kit. We have a little flexible plastic pencil tote that contains a lightweight sketchbook (I bought a ton of them at Muji when we were in Taiwan) plus some oil pastels or crayons. I usually throw this kit into my purse or under the stroller when we go out to eat or when we are running errands that require waiting. It has saved us tons of times during long and otherwise restless waits at restaurants, and I thought other kids/parents might enjoy the same.
I wanted to have something a little special in our kit, though, and I decided that it needed a fun drawing tool. Otis and I recycled some crayons that we acquired at East Bay Depot by breaking/cutting them down to small chunks and melting them in a star-shaped silicone cake pan. It’s a great way to use up old, broken crayons, or even the crayons that you get free from restaurants. You can use any shape you want – use an old muffin tin, or even melt it in a big sheet and cut them into shapes while still warm with a sharp cookie cutter (though I’m not sure you’ll want to bake anything edible in the pans afterwards). We broke up the crayons together and Otis arranged them in our cake pan. Then we sat in front of the oven and watched them melt very slowly. (We baked them at 200 until they were melted, about 15 minutes.) It was a fun project to do together, and he found the cutting of the crayons quite satisfying:
I found a great substitute for our beloved Muji notebooks in these fantastic little sketchbooks from Moleskine. I love their regular sketchbooks, and they make these thinner versions in a variety of wonderful colors. They fit just right into a clear plastic “binder pouch” that I found at Target (I need to go back and buy a bunch before all the back-to-school supplies are gone!) and I added a star shaped crayon tucked into a little sewn drawstring bag. I will attach a little tag that will inform our gift recipient that the crayon was “Made by Otis.” I know some prefer to limit their use of plastic, and you can definitely sew a larger drawstring bag instead; there are so many possibilities.
I love this little doodle kit! And I hope our gift recipient will, too.