Olive is a first grader. I thought long and hard about what she could make for her siblings that would be useful and beautiful and that she could really truly contribute-to/participate-in. This is what we came up with.

Three Bean Bags for Oscar. One Heating Pad for Ralph.
Basically two versions of the same project. Olive picked the fabric from my fabric box. She helped cut it. She chose the orange thread. She controlled the sewing machine presser foot, while I guided the fabric. She turned the heating pad right side out. She filled the heating bag with beans. She filled the bean bags with wheat (they have exposed hems, so we didn’t need to turn them right side out). They turned out great. Olive was very proud of herself.

If you haven’t tried a heating bag like this, I highly recommend it. We were given one by a neighbor, in a great ticking stripe fabric, over 6 years ago and it’s barely showing any wear. You just microwave it for a couple of minutes and the heat lasts for ages. At our house, the heating pad functions almost like a band-aid or a mother’s kiss — it kind of cures everything. I scraped my knee, I need the heating pad. I didn’t win at Scrabble, I need the heating pad. I imagine Ralph will think it’s very grown-up to have one of his very own.

And bean bags are just one of those things you need around the house when you have kids. They’re an instant game. Who can throw the bean bags closest to the circle on the rug? Let’s play catch with the bean bags. The bean bag is hiding, let’s find it. Our current supply is mostly lost. Oscar will love these new ones.

A Bag of Chalk for Maude
Maude really loves rock climbing and gymnastics. Both of which require chalk to keep her hands dry. I have no idea where you buy the real stuff, but Olive made a container full by grating big sticks of sidewalk chalk with our box grater. The grater worked like a charm and the chalk dust turned out to be quite colorful and lovely.

An ipod Cover for Ralph
I also want to show you what Maude made for Ralph. Remember his ipod from his birthday last August? Well. Maude used this idea from Martha to make him an ipod cover from felt. The button isn’t functional as a button, but the cover was too plain and Maude thought a button would look good. She’s so right. And the button does help keep the cover sort-of weighted down. Bonus, it’s so big and so easy to work with that it was a great opportunity to teach Maude how to sew on a button.

There is still one more sibling gift to work on this weekend — Ralph’s gift for Maude. I’ll let you know how it goes.