Love Buckets and Glitter Friends - Handmade Toys for KidsMy girls have been begging me to use glitter lately.  “Mama I want sparklies,” from D and “Mama, please can we use glitter,” over and over again in a long drawn out groan.  I finally decided to put an end to the madness and I’m so glad I did!  Sometimes following our children’s lead is the best thing we can do for everyone.  We made our own glitter toys that are the gift that keep on giving.  No more sparkle begs because the sparkly glittery goodness is permanently stuck onto their new little friends.  The mess was relatively painless and now we are glitter set for weeks, if not months.  Plus, how cute are these little guys?  I just love them.  Oh, and the best part of this art project is that my husband Ev joined us and it was so much fun.

**If you love this post please click over to Hello, Wonderful where I’m sharing more about how to connect with your children through imaginative play.

Making handmade toys with your whole family and a lot of glitter!*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

To start you’ll need a few things you can either get at your local craft store or order online.  I’ve included links to everything below.

wood toys – hearts, little people, love buckets and a treasure box (just fyi the treasure box is way cheaper at Michaels.  I think it’s only a dollar if you have one near you.)  glitter, paint, (this is my absolute favorite paint set) white glue, a paint brush, a tray or paper plate and the crucial ingredient that keeps it all from being a massive mess

*Unfinished wood pieces come in all different shapes, so whatever you child is into would be a great place to start.  My girls are all about tutus and hearts and all that, but how cute are these cars and this wood boat?

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterThe most important thing about making these glitter toys is to do it OUTSIDE.  You’ll be way less stressed about the glitter going all over the place and anything that drops will just get blown away like fairy dust.  We’re lucky enough to have an art playhouse, but you can set up a little tarp or plastic tablecloth in the driveway or on the grass and you’re all set.

The first step is to paint the wood pieces.  We used my favorite paint set and painted as many pieces as we wanted.  Both girls were really into it.

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterD was already having fun fitting the little people into the love buckets and carrying them around the playhouse.

Making handmade toys with your whole familyWhile the girls painted I set up some recycled trays I’ve had forever that are just kind of permanently filled with glitter.  I just stack them up when I’m done and put a piece of tinfoil over the top in a cabinet.  If you don’t want to keep them around or in storage then do this part on a paper plate and just toss it when you’re done.  I had two bowls filled with glue and a few paintbrushes ready to go to apply the glue.

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterThis is when the mega fun started.  Partly because Ev joined us and partly because of the GLITTER! The girls were quick to notice the trays and squealed in delight.  Really, they squealed and hugged me jumped up and down and squealed again.

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterI started by showing them how they can paint on the glue with the brush, something they’ve done many times before for different things, but soon everyone was just dipping their wood pieces into the glue and then dipping them into the glitter.  If you want a more subdued technique, I recommend sticking with the paint brush and teaching your kids how to shake the glitter holders lightly over the gluey areas so a little glitter comes out of the canister onto the wood pieces.  Do this over the plate.  I teach the kids at work how to use the glitter containers “just a little bit” and they have gotten surprisingly good at it.  Though definitely be prepared for glitter giddiness to take over and just let them go for it.  That’s why it’s crucial to be outside!

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterI have to say, I do understand the glitter thing.  It’s just so pretty.

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterHere’s an example of one our little friends that Ev helped with.  He got surprisingly into this project.  It was great.

The last and most important step is to let everything dry overnight and then smother it with mod podge.  What is mod podge you ask?  It’s a gluey shiny mixture that sort of glazes everything it touches.  It’s super stinky though so do this outside too.  This part is an adult job.  I was super excited to see that once you coat everything in mod podge and let it dry completely the glitter is no longer a pain in the butt mess at all! It’s totally melded onto the wood and ready for play.  No glitter fly aways anywhere.

Making Handmade Toys with Your Whole Family and a lot of GlitterWe made these a few weeks ago and we have played with them almost every single day since.  If the girls make a magna tiles castle (another favorite toy in our house) the glitter friends are going in.  If they are playing with their dollhouse, the glitter friends are chatting it up in the living room.  They store them in the treasure box and carry them around in their heart purses.  Seriously, these are awesome play toys.

Happy New Year, Healthy KidsThis post is part of the Happy New Year, Healthy Kids series.  You can read about the series here

If you like this post, please hop over to Hello, Wonderful and see how imaginative play can help you connect with your child.  I’m guest posting over there today with more pics of these little guys in action.  Thanks for following along everyone! xo Meri

Love Buckets and Glitter Friends - Handmade Toys for Kids

art secrets every parent should knowMy favorite art supplies for kidsebookZero to Two - the book of play ebook