I’ve been getting a lot of people saying that they will save my projects for when their babies get a little older.  But what about the babies?  They need to have some fun too!  When my twins were little, I didn’t have much time to make toys, but I was always thinking about what I would create if I did have the time.  So now I’m going to start turning those ideas into reality.  Plus, we’re expecting to play with a new niece soon, so that will be a good source of inspiration!

Now on to the toy.  When the twins were teething, my mom made them some drool bibs.  I remember being fascinated by the fact that they played with these bibs more than any other toy.  They liked the soft colorful material, but mostly they loved the tactile feel of the tiny piece of velcro.  So this morning I made these simple stackable squares of material that are fun to rip apart and interact with.

These squares are sturdy and washable. To make them, I folded a rectangle in half, and sewed around two of the open edges, (leaving one edge open). Then I turned the square right-side out, tucked in the open edge, and sewed around all four edges. Then I sewed a piece of velcro onto each side so they all stick together. Done!

38 Responses
  1. Secret Mommy

    How come everything you do is just so simple and amazing and awesome??? I think my 5 month old AND 2 year old would dig this! (In fact, when I'm sewing, my 2 year old always says, "Can I make something, too, Mom?" Thanks for another TERRIFIC idea. :)

  2. Catherine Hansen Peart

    This is so simple it is genius. I am so happy I found your blog. Really inspirational.

  3. Emily

    I LOVE this! It will be a great easy craft for my scraps – and a great little gift for nieces and nephews.

    Your blog is awesome. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Kickcan and Conkers

    Less is more – a simple, clever idea – my kids would have loved it. Totally smitten!

  5. Lori Henriques

    Dude! The design is so simple & brilliant. And the colors – so pleasing you could frame it.

  6. wabili

    So great!!
    I'll make it as quickly as I'll be able to. Thank you so much… I can't wait for the other ideas!
    Marine (from France)

  7. Saddie

    I love this! I think I'll have to stuff some of the squares with something crinkly and use some funky textured cloth on others. I think that denim you used would be so pleasant for teething gums.

  8. Lauren

    Love it!!!! So doing this tonight….quick question though, once you turned it out and had the raw edge (in the pic that looked like a pocket) did you tuck in the edge or just sew it as is??? Did that make sense? Lauren from Sydney :)

  9. Joel Henriques


    at swim-two-birds – yeah, it does have a Malevich vibe doesn't it. cool.

    Lauren – yes, I tucked in the raw edges, and used a iron to kind of press it before I sewed it. you could use pins it you wanted too.

  10. Joel Henriques

    Yes Saddie, some crinkle in there is a great idea. And yeah, I think these would be great for teething. Especially the denim.

  11. Mother Lode

    P.S. – I used the plastic lining from our empty raisin bran box to add crinkle – it's a food grade plastic, so should be safer than other suggestions I've seen, like the empty package from baby wipes.

  12. ElisabethB

    Thank you Joel for this so nice and so simple idea ! I am a french children minder (3 babies!) and I will sew very quickly this toy…..three time ;-) !

  13. Joel Henriques

    Mother Lode – Those look great! I like the bran box crinkle idea. wonder if they would still wash ok. probably right? maybe just hang dry though.

  14. modernmaam

    Oh thank you! I'm happy to know you haven't forgotten about those of us who may have not started quite yet! ;) More of these please, Joel!

  15. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everybody!

    nattles – I used a variety of material. The cream color is a natural denim, the blue and black are a sturdy canvas, and the others are just soft cotton. Any material will work. I was mainly choosing by color for this project.

  16. craftylittlemonkey

    I like them! You could make a lazy version by serging, zigzagging or pinking the raw edges instead of turning them under. Or you could sew on some bias binding, that's a fun way to add even more colour!
    You might like the look of taggy blankets, they are so simple to make and babies love, Love LOVE all the bits of ribbon. My small girl liked the tags way more than the toy every time!
    This is what I'm talking about

  17. Joel Henriques

    craftylittlemonkey – Thanks! Those are some great looking tag blankets. I've got to try something like that. Yeah, Jack and Tess loved the tags on things too. Anything that was surprising to them (pieces of velcro – like on these baby squares) they liked.

  18. Miss Muffin

    I just discovered your blog and so far I LOVE IT! Too bad I did not come across it before as I was searching the web for a cute black and white mobile for babies … and did not really find anything neat. But I will make my boy (7months old) these play squares. I am sure he will love them. At the moments he keeps eating my finished quilt blocks … so maybe if I make him some of his own that'll save my sewing. :-)
    Thanks so much for this idea!!!
    Looking forward to more baby-related ideas!

  19. Kerry Ann

    what a fantastic idea. I love it. Thank you! My friend recommended your blog to me, I'm printing your templates now to make paper city and a fish tank with my boys. And the marble run. And the mobile. We live in Phoenix, it is so hot now this is great to have such fun creative ideas. Thank you. :)

  20. Jana @ The Summer House

    You sew too!?! I love the simplicity of this! You have a gift and its great to see you using it.

  21. Jennifer Bundy

    This is a great idea- one thing you could add to it if you wanted, would be to put a "crinkly" sounding thing in the middle of some of the layers. I have heard of people cutting the wipes wrappers and putting them in the squares. Just sew and x (from corner to corner) to keep it in place. I think I might have to get mine made soon! Thanks!

  22. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everyone!

    Jana @ The Summer House – I'm not that great of a sewer yet, but kids toys are far more forgiving that clothes!

    Jennifer Bundy – Nice idea with the wipe wrappers! I left mine empty inside, so they could be washed and dried. With the wrappers though, they could of course be washed, then dried flat. I'll have to try that on my next set!

  23. AnnaPK

    I made these yesterday for soon-to-be-born niece. They were simple and came out awesome! I did them in red, blue and green flannel. My s-i-l is going to love them!
    THANK YOU for everything you share!!!!!