The problem: your kid has a lot of friends, and wants to give gifts to every single one of them.
These dolls were really simple to make (I cannot emphasize this enough – I know nothing about sewing, so when I say they were easy, it means something), and I put them together with scraps of old clothes and pillowcases. They cost nothing beyond an hour or so of time. The girls added on their own faces with colored pencil, and didn’t put them down the whole sleepover weekend.
If you scout around Etsy you will see cuter, more precise and more detailed versions of rag dolls selling for $40 or $60 bucks. But the priceless thing about a rag doll you make for one special kid is…they know you did it just for them. On the other hand, if you get on a roll, you could probably assembly line enough dolls for the whole class in a dedicated weekend.
*The patternmaker who offers this free doll pattern asks that, in consideration of use, you also make a doll for donation to an underprivileged child. She organizes and promotes Dolly Donation Drives through her website. These drives collect and ship handmade dolls to needy children in South Africa, Haiti and other areas where children live in poverty. Sounds like a fair trade to me!
Tin of Magnets – got a little scientist in need of a gift? My parents gave my daughter an old metal cookie tin full of metal pieces – paper clips, bolts, nuts, large washers, various coins, etc. – that are easily found around the house or at a hardware store. Then they picked up a few assorted size magnets at an educational store and presented my daughter with her very own magnetic exploration kit. Genius! Several years later, she still periodically runs around the house, testing what in the house is ferrous. (Obviously, be careful about age appropriateness and choking with toys like this. It is very bad for kids to swallow magnets.)
Chunky Swirly Crayon Buttons – great gift for little hands that want to color but tend to snap or break regular size crayons. You combine colors of half-used or broken crayons and melt them together to create new, cool, chunky swirly crayon buttons. A half-dozen mini’s would be an adorable gift. Full instructions here.