Some ideas off the top of my head …
A play tent that has been designed to fit over the dining table so the children can play underneath, with flaps for windows and doors.
Playstands – the perfect idea. If you would find the usual curving type ones too difficult, could you build or buy second hand a couple of shelving units, and connect them with wooden arches or some other idea, maybe also put door-flaps at one end – a bit of nailing and hot-gluing but not too much major building this way.
Dress-up clothes – one year for Christmas I made my children a whole lot of fairy dress-ups using some very basic ideas. For example, I sewed sparkly chiffon onto an old pink tank top and added ribbons, I made basic aprons (a flap of material sewn onto a waistband) and they became cloaks and aprons and flags and all kinds of things.
Outdoor play area – by using big chunks of wood for seats and a table, and then some coloured paving stones in a circle, maybe a tiny feature like a water-fountain or something, or a stick pyramid decorated with shiny beads and flowers as a fairy hut, plus some old tires filled with sand and a wooden swing.
Unpainted wooden window box – trough and some paints and seeds so they could decorate it themselves then plant seeds.
Crafting Box – I filled a beautiful box with things she could use in crafting : feathers, beads, cardboard squares, etc. I got everything from a discount store and it cost about $20 for all the contents. She loved it!
Complete Room Transformation – I don’t know how your children feel about opening gifts, but perhaps something you could do is gather everything together and then, on Christmas, their Birthday (or whatever occasion you choose) create a brand new amazing playroom for them, and when they awaken in the morning – look what the fairies have done! They’ve transformed the dining room! An older sibling could help you set it up and be a part of the *magic*.
Then they could spend the morning discovering everything. That way, you could do a lot of little things, like hand-made paper dolls (with fabric clothes they can cut out into clothes and glue on) and baskets of painted stones, and knitted animals, and second-hand books, and little gifts wrapped up and labelled for individual children just tucked away in places.
These are just come basic ideas to start a discussion… What are YOUR choices for BEST TOYS? Please share your comments….