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Awesome gifts for kids

 
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With all the disposable and cluttering toys out there, I'm always excited when the kids get a truly useful gift that will last for years. Please feel free to share more gift ideas for kids.

A friend of mine showed how carefully she had been listening to my young daughter's chatting and bought her a mortar and pestle after my kid told her about the herbal remedies she was concocting to treat her siblings mosquito bites. She had been using some stones to grind the leaves.

A week later my friend gave her this gift:
20230807_123408.jpg
A truly useful gift
A truly useful gift
 
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I love gifts like that! Useful, fun, and beautiful! You can get mortar and pestles made from so many different beautiful stones.

A few months back, I taught my kids' class how to make milk paint, and I brought in my 3 mortar and pestles for the kids to grind charcoal for black pigment. They LOVED it. Mortar and pestles are super fun to use, and beautiful to look at!
 
Jenny Wright
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
A few months back, I taught my kids' class how to make milk paint, and I brought in my 3 mortar and pestles for the kids to grind charcoal for black pigment. They LOVED it. Mortar and pestles are super fun to use, and beautiful to look at!



Were you able to get them clean after that?
My kids were making charcoal paint last week by smashing it with rocks and hammers. It didn't get very dark and was pretty gritty... The mortar and pestle would have been more effective but I would be worried about using non-food stuff in it.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I used wood char, from my woodstove. Charcoal is usually considered inert (sometimes people eat it for stomach ailments), so I wasn't too worried about reside. I also don't usually use my mortars and pestles for food. I did find when I ground up cochineal to make a woodstain, the stain was a lot darker than I was expecting, despite having cleaned the mortar and pestle.....probably some of the residue remained! I think I probably should have tried it in one of my lighter mortars which would be easier to see when it's clean, rather than my black one!

My lighter colored mortars didn't show any sign of being stained. If you wanted to be extra careful, you could use charcoal just from edible woods, like apple and alder and maple.

I actually just packed up my mortars and pestles to take to my kids' summer Forest School tomorrow, so those kids can grind up charcoal and make milk paint, too!

I wonder if your charcoal paint was so gritty and hard to smash because it might have come from a campfire, and the wood wasn't totally charred through-and-through? I only used charcoal from my woodstove, and I know historically people made charcoal by smothering the fire so that the coal didn't burn away entirely. I wonder if the lack of oxygen in my stove made a more...developed...charcoal?

Starting at about 5:22, BBC's Tale of the Green Valley shows how charcoal was made in the past.

 
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A set of stubby screw drivers - nice size and shape for small hands and pretty colours too! Only problem that arose when my sister gave my son a set, was that Dad was jealous!
 
Nicole Alderman
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When my grandparents downsized from their home to a retirement community, my dad went through my grandpa's old tools and tool boxes. He picked out a tool box and filled it with my grandpa's old tools. Each of child got one of Great-Grandpa's old toolboxes, filled with Great-Grandpa's old tools. My dad made up larger tool boxes for me, my husband, and my brother as well. I think it was one of the most beautiful and amazing gifts we've ever received. Such a powerful way to pass along memories, skills, and tools to the next generations.
tool-box-present.jpg
My son with his tool box with Great-Grandpa's old tools
My son with his tool box with Great-Grandpa's old tools
 
Nicole Alderman
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Another useful and fun gift idea is a hand-crank drill. My kids really love using their Fiskar's Hand-Crank drill. It's a lot harder to hurt yourself with one of these, compared to an electric drill.

these do tend to strip out pretty easily


The Fiskars ones do tend to strip out easily. I think I might upgrade them to an egg beater drill

my son loved using these in his woodworking class in 2nd Grade
 
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Probably the safest form of charcoal for consumption and for topical herbal remedies or "paint" is food grade made from organic coconut shells, which is often sold for use internally to absorb unwanted organic toxins and metabolites, and should be equally safe when used topically.
 
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