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.
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!