Kids and sewing. The opinions on this subject are vast and varied. "Yes, I love it." "No, I hate it." "This is the proper age." "No, they need to be older"... and on and on it goes. I am one of those who greatly enjoys teaching kids to sew and think no age is too young if the child shows aptitude and interest. Last week the not-nephew and two of the not-nieces came for a visit and we worked on a project together. I decided to share some tips I've learned to help make everything go smoothly and be enjoyable for the whole group. Enjoy!
Have the Proper Mindset.
This has two key parts. 1. You and the kids WANT to do this and have patience today for it.
2. Don't expect the same results as the pattern maker or what you would make on your own.
|I chose ImagineGnat's free Peanut Baby Pattern.|
They thought the photo was really neat
and wanted to make them!
|This is what their's actually ended up looking like. :)|
Before I even called the kids to the crafting table I had traced and pinned the pattern to the cardboard so it was ready for them to color. Next time I would draw the hairline and the "neckline" before I gave it to them because they didn't know where to put the face or the best area to color.
We had a talk about the "special fabric markers" so they needed to be gentle with them. I gave them free reign on colors and design. I did help the 2 year old color her's as she was having trouble with the fabric and marker pressure.
Overall they moved through this project much quicker than I expected so having everything at hand was key to keeping the momentum going.
Take Breaks (if needed)
After we had finished coloring our bodies, heat setting the fabric markers and choosing the fabric for their hair I sent them off to watch a movie while I finished cutting the dolls out and sewed on the hair. (I did change the pattern here by making the dolls only one sided and the hair is unflippable.)
They came back recharged and ready to sew their peanut babies together. They each took a turn sitting on my lap, pulling the pins as we sewed around the doll. Sometimes I put their hands under or on top of mine so they can begin to feel the rhythm of the fabric and machine but this time we were in a hurry to get these babies done!
I clipped the curves and they turned them right side out and stuffed the dolls. I helped make sure the stuffing was going in smoothly and they weren't balling it up into knots. Once they were stuffed they eagerly watched me invisibly sew the holes shut to finish their peanut babies.
|I think they look pretty pleased.|
This is a time to introduce/infect others with the same love and joy you get from sewing. If you're having fun it doesn't matter so much how the project turns out because it's been made with love. You are filling a child with knowledge of a useful skill, the joy of creating, plus time and attention. Embrace it.
- I was working with a 5, 4 and 2 year old on this project and they all did very well. I had to help the 2 year old the most. This teaches all sorts of great motor skills and all that jazz!
- This is a great time for them to realize the length of time it takes to make something which may eventually curb the "make me everything" syndrome that kids seem to go through
- Choose the comfort level you and the child are at. They all helped me use the iron to heat set the colors. We discussed irons and it isn't the first time they've ever been around one.
How about you? Do you like or want to teach children? What do you think are some of the benefits of crafting with kids can have? Do your kids have the "MEE" syndrome too and if so how do you handle it?