Flat Stanley would be perfect for this
March 14, 2015 8:10 AM   Subscribe

I send monthly letters to my two-year-old nephew, and started included small crafts with them - origami, window stars, coffee filter snowflakes, a friendship bracelet. What are other small, flat-ish things that I can make for him?

Things that require some unfolding/construction are fine, and actually, as he gets older, might be even better. I have limited artistic skills - papercraft works really well because there's not much subjective creation in it; I just have to fold and glue. Drawings and sketches are beyond my skill set.

Nothing too heavy, as I'm in the US and he's in Australia.
posted by punchtothehead to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What about a puzzle? You could cut up a picture that he could put back together? You could do cool things like using photographs of your travels or your daily life.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:17 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Homemade shrinky dinks . You can also buy blank sheets of shrink plastic cheaply at art/craft stores. You don't have to be a good artist to have fun with that.

Balsa wood might also be fun. Along the lines of origami, there are a million print-out-cut-and -glue papercraft things on the internet.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:21 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pop-up cards! For example. They also have books with pre-printed lines to cut on.

Paper dolls could be fun to cut out for him. Most of the patterns are geared to girls but it looks like there are some for boys out there.

If you embroider (or could learn), felt ornaments for Christmas. Many of them are shown stuffed, but you could skip that step easily.

Quilling is a papercraft and might be up your alley.
posted by pie ninja at 8:33 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Paper ornaments can be made in a huge variety of ways - here's a post I did a few years ago with selected links to Paper Matrix which has a ton of designs including very complex ones.

A simple one is to cut paper strips from some fun paper (wrapping paper, greeting cards even), punch holes in both ends, stack them, put a brad through each hole, and then fan them out to create a paper ball. You can fold them back down flat for mailing.

Paper dolls, with clothes that attach by folding tabs. (Could make paper dolls of your family and his?)

Paper dolls that are holding hands in a line - many creative possibilities here, different animals (his pets?) holding hands, etc.

Further down the line, you might think about making pop-up books (that's a filthy light thief post with a ton of inspiration).

And paper airplanes!

One of those spiral-bound flip books, where you have animals or people divided into three horizontal sections, and you can flip the pages independently, so you can have the head of a gorilla on the midsection of a parrot and the bottom section of a snake?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: Oh, and just another thought along the puzzle line - I have a nephew who's obsessed with trains, and we got him a floor puzzle that's a long train; each piece is one train car* with an indent on one side and an outdent on the other, and they can be fitted together interchangeably. So there's no 'wrong' way to do it, and it's easy for a little one to play freely with... more complex jigsaw puzzles often take more adult help for toddlers, so don't get as much play. Each car has its own fun theme.

* the pieces are double-sided cardboard, so actually each has two train cars, one on either side.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:53 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Something with pictures of him, you, his parents, and others in your family -- a little photo ornament, accordion fold-out, pictures of faces printed on sticker paper with some hand-drawn robots and aliens and things to stick the face stickers on.
posted by chickenmagazine at 9:12 AM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: You can enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and a blank art card -- he can draw on the front (or glue some stuff to the front) and send it back to you!

Dot-to-dot puzzles.
posted by amtho at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can make your own envelopes when you mail him, out of interesting papers and pictures; lots of instructions and templates are online.
Paper hats are another option.
Trace an outline of an easy photo, maybe of yourself or other family member, and make your own coloring book type page or two for him to then color in himself with crayons.
Hand card (trace your own hand).
posted by gudrun at 9:54 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My kids like it when I blow up a balloon (don't tie it!), write a secret message or draw a funny face with a permanent marker, then let it deflate. They don't know what's there until they blow it up again.
posted by belladonna at 3:07 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Swedish heart basket
posted by lakeroon at 7:40 PM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: Sewing cards that you design (enclose some yarn for him to do the sewing), bookmarks (could be cardstock wrapped in washi tape), cross-stitch of his name on a bit of canvas, pressed flowers, tiny painting of a geometric design, felt cutouts that he can arrange on a larger felt sheet.
posted by lakeroon at 7:55 PM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: A hexaflexagon would be perfect for this.
posted by Gowellja at 11:04 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Confetti
Bookmarks Bookmarks Bookmarks
Do you Crochet?
Flat Rats perhaps
Printed Toys
I Spy Pages, maybe to be collected into a book over time.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:11 AM on March 15, 2015

Best answer: Diy pop up card
posted by BoscosMom at 2:05 PM on March 17, 2015

Response by poster: These are all phenomenal. Thank you so much!
posted by punchtothehead at 2:58 PM on March 21, 2015

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