Here is a simple felt board tree that we have all been enjoying for the past few weeks:
This tree has been decorated and redecorated many times, and the kids have also had fun cutting out some of their own ornaments and presents. I made the tree in sections so that they could assemble it themselves. Here's how:
Do you have a felt board? I made a very easy one last year. I covered a 20"x30" piece of foam board with grey felt, stretched it tight and taped it on the back with packing tape. It was a gift for a two year old, so I also made some very bold, geometric shapes in black, white, red and yellow: squares, circles, semi-circles and rectangles, all about 1 to 4 inches in size.
I intended to mount it on the wall or find a better way to attach the felt to the board, but it has held up very well as it is, and the lightness and portability of the foam board have made it easy for small kids to carry it around and lay it on the floor or lean it against the wall. Here's the "temporary" taping on the back:
I highly recommend this toy for two to five year olds. It gets played with a lot at our house, and over the past year it has had many different scenes on it, including: a bear family with tree house, an autumn tree with falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns, children with pets, farm animals, and more. Usually I cut out the shapes that my kids request, but sometimes they make their own. They love moving the pieces around and acting out scenarios with the characters, so if you are looking for a gift for a child who is often playing with little animals or figurines and making up voices and actions for them, this is perfect.
I made our felt board and pieces using inexpensive acrylic felt, but have since learned that felt that is at least 50% wool clings better and is less likely to fall off on the floor. If you don't have foam board, I'm sure a thick cardboard or a thin plywood would work as well.