I got this wonderful idea from Camp Creek Blog. A child's field bag made from an old pair of pants. Brilliant, I say. It's one of those projects I've had bookmarked forever.
Well, the snow has finally melted here and uncovered all kinds of things that little boys find absolutely irresistible and interesting. Huck has been bringing home sparkly rocks, sticks shaped like letters and sap covered pine cones so I decided it was time to make a field bag to encourage his exploration--and keep the all those lovely bits of nature out of my washing machine.
It's really meant to be utilitarian so it's probably dumb to have embellished it. It'll most likely be covered in mud in short order. But what the hell. I have trouble passing up any opportunity to use felt.
As you clean out the closet this spring be sure not to throw out any pants or shorts that are made from sturdy material and have good pockets. And if you don't find any you can always hit your local thrift store, where I picked up these khakis for $1.50. I think camo cargo pants would make a great field bag.
Once you choose the right pair of pants you can actually make 2 bags. Perfect if you have more than one child or as a gift for your child's best pal. I'm making our second pants leg into a bag for another 3 year old boy who recently moved into our neighborhood and is ironically named Finn.
I mean, come on, Huck and Finn out collecting rocks and poking at bugs?
It was meant to be.
To make the bag simply cut the pants or shorts in half up the crotch. You'll want to cut out the fly. Use the waist as the top of the bag and cut off the legs so the bag is the length you want. Now you'll have 2 pieces and each piece will be one bag. Turn one piece it inside out and sew it closed at the bottom (what used to be the leg) and down one side (where the fly used to be). Now turn it right side out and that's your pouch with a front and back pocket and belt loops at the top. For the handles I just cut out the inseams of the rest of both pant legs. Cut as close to the seam as you can and make 2 long strips. Sew one end of each of the strips to the top of the bag at oposite sides. Tie the loose ends together in a knot. Be sure and leave the straps long and tie the knot lower if you want to be able to "let it out" as your child grows.
Here's a peek inside the field bag of a 3 year old explorer.
a chapstick, a pair of gloves, a few popsicle sticks (for poking stuff),
and some Pocket Naturalist Guides
Like the Collage Kit I made Huck a while back, this will also go on my list of go to gifts for kids' birthdays. It's simple, inexpensive and thoughtful. You can easily personalized it with a name or initials and fill it with age-appropriate stuff geared specifically to the child's interests...
For the tiny entomologist: A specimen jar, magnifying glass & a butterfly or Common Insects Guide
For the budding artist: A mini watercolor set, colored pencils and a sketch pad
For the junior botanist: A small plant press or notebook and a North American Tree or flower guide
For the young ornithologist: Lightweight binoculars and a bird guide for your region
For the little geologist: A Rocks & Minerals Guide, water dropper, scratch stone & small pick
Or you can do what I did and just fill it with stuff you already have at home. It's the cheapest option and leaves lots of room for a kid's interests and field bag needs to develop over time.
Be sure and check out all the Pocket Naturalist Guides that are available though. They're really great and just the right size to take on a walk. There are bird and tree guides for different regions of the US and even several specific states. If you live near a pond there are a few guides specific to Pond Life. They even make ones for Urban Wildlife, Edible Plants, and First Aid. We love these guides as well as the bigger and more detailed Audubon Field Guides that we use at home and these great nature guides, which I've written about before. Huck loves his guides but is only just getting the idea of how to use them. In the meantime there's a lot of pretend going on around here.
He says that the potholes on our dirt road are dinosaur tracks.
And since I made the field bag he's been having daily pretend nature walks around the house, too. I'm ashamed to say he's caught three dead houseflies. Whatcha gonna do?