Make a first sewing basket for kids using simple, age appropriate materials that encourage open-ended creativity, fine motor skills and plenty of independent fun!
My girls have been asking to do some sewing recently, so we collected some simple, easy to use materials together and made a first sewing basket for them to have and use.They are really excited to have something of their very own and to do it next to me while I am doing my crochet. It struck me how much a basket of these materials is really just a fantastic open-ended play resource, with a focus on fine motor skills and development of co-ordination. It’s a heuristic play basket for slightly older children!
I wanted the contents to be tactile, easy to use and child-appropriate, ensuring that they will have success each time they begin a new project and leaving room for different combinations of materials and open-ended creativity.
Into the basket went:
large plastic needles
colourful yarn wrapped around wooden clothes pegs (pins) to make yarn dollies (I loved making these!)
large spaced stiff netting cut into various sizes and widths (I found this in the kitchen section in the £1 shop)
felt shapes with small holes snipped out using scissors
They loved the dollies and wanted to unwrap all the yarn at once, so we talked about how to unwind, snip and tuck in the tail end of the wool to keep it from unravelling further. Cakie wanted to try sewing with the yarns first, onto the stiff mesh, and she practised going in and out with the needle, criss-crossing different colours and added a button. She said she would like to make a picture or a letter of the alphabet next!
Pop started off her piece with some thin ribbon and it threaded really well through the needle and the large holes in the mesh. It was even easier than the wool because it didn’t slip out of the needle so much, and she learnt how to sew it through to make a simple pattern.
Their finished first pieces can be picked apart and the materials used over and over again, if they want to do that.
They then had a try using thin ribbon through the felt shapes. The felt is soft and flexible, making it nice to hold and practise threading through. You could be really creative with the shapes and styles of felt pieces here, and I think we will need to make some seasonal ones for up-coming textile projects together!
As their interest and ability in sewing develops I will add more pieces to the basket for further exploration and creativity. Hopefully they will want to continue their interest further by using pieces of material and completing self-deisnged projects soon!
This basket would make a lovely gift for a preschooler or school aged child and could even be a nice project for a child to make for one of their friends.
What they are learning as they play:
creativity: combining textures and materials to create self-directed projects, textiles
physical: fine motor skills, hand: eye co-ordination, pincer grasp, scissor control, winding wool
Bean: 17 mos
Be inspired by many other art and craft ideas in our archives here!
Shaunna @ Fantastic Fun and Learning says
I love this! We have a few odds and ends that my oldest has been playing with, but I think we’ll definitely set her up with her own basket. Thanks!
Spectrummy Mummy says
Great for boosting fine motor skills!
imperfectly natural mama says
This is a lovely idea. I will defiantely do this for my little boy when he is a bit older (I am always saying that) Where do you buy the plastic needles?
Jenny @ Muddy Toes says
Great idea, this would make such a lovely gift. I’ll need to remember this idea for when my boy is a bit older. 🙂 x
Katrina R says
Love this! The mesh fabric is perfect, I need to find some of that!
Gorgeous images of your sweet girl. Lovely!
i really like this idea! pinned for when my littles are a bit older!
Kristen B says
Love your kids’ craft & activity posts. Please feel free to link up at Artsy Play Wednesday every week.
Autumn Rennie says
This is a lovely little first sewing kit. The faces on the spools are so fun!
I love this! Sewing is a wonderful skill to pass onto kids and they love sewing as a fun activity but I never had the proper supplies for young kids. Your basket is PERFECT!!! You should make kits of these and sell them!!!
alejandra falcone says
a lot of creative ideas which i´ll use in my preschool classroom and with my ten year daughter.thanks for sharing!!
What a fantastic idea!! My daughter loves to do crafty things, and I’m going to put this basket together with her. Just got introduced to your site… I absolutely love it!! Will be checking out more activities for my kids to try
Naomi @ Upcycled Creatively says
Such a great idea x
Hi! This is such a cute idea. I have a niece in mind for this gift, but she is almost 6yr. How old is your little one? She is darling by the way!
Hi Anna, where to get plastic needles from? Thanks for the tip about kitchen dept for the mesh. Love your fab ideas. Thanks!
I found the big plastic needles at JoAnn in the notions section. Now if I could just find the mesh!
branka hollingsworth says
Thanks for this wonderful idea. My son (2,5) and I had great Saturday afternoon and his work is already posted on FB:)
Have just made one for my girls for Christmas. Can’t wait for them to open it and start discovering!
Re. Needles: I found a two-pack in Hobbycraft for about £1.50 today x
Many thanks for this great idea. I’ve collected most of the bits and bobs but the mesh has escaped me. I found some plastic canvass online but the gauge is too small for the needles 🙁 Has anyone had any luck finding any like the one in the picture?
There’s something very much like that mesh in the £1 shop it’s actually for cooking in but will do the trick I would have thought xxx
Amanda Manisty says
I think I found the mesh!
Haven’t actually ordered it yet though, so can’t be sure yet.