I think one of the most important parts of my homeschool is handcrafting, and teaching my children the importance of creating things and imagination. Even my older boys love to sew and make things, along with my littles, which spurs such wonderful imaginative thought processes and fine motor skills. So how can you start and when should you start?
Start Early and Simple
I usually start by having them practice sewing with a needle and thread, at around age 2. Encouraging them to create, using something simple such as wool felt shapes and thread, is so empowering for them. It allows them to make little pillows and stuffed animals, letting them have “toys” that they made themselves! Here you can see a video of one of my littles (then 3 year old Oaklen), watching a movie with us, while practicing his hand stitching. His finished project was so adorable! He named him “hoot”.
Even the littlest ones can help with creativity by doing something such as putting in wool stuffing, which gives them practice at fine motor skills! My sweet Cecily absolutely loved to use a chopstick and try to “help” me stuff dolls when she was a baby.
Encourage and Challenge them!
Once they have practiced and achieved the basic hand stitching skills, move them onto a more challenging project!
Once my littles are around age 4, I start having them make their own doll! A good simple doll for them to make is a pocket doll. My free pocket doll pattern and tutorial can be found here.
Helping them along the way, a 5 or 6 year old should have no trouble making a doll with assistance. Oaklen is my most crafty little one, who loves making dolls. Here is a video of him last year (age 5) sewing his own doll. It took him awhile but he finished all on his own. Every single stitch was his. I was so very proud.
Give them freedom!
Encourage older kids to tackle projects with minimal to no help. By the age of 9 or 10, they are fully able to use a sewing machine and read or watch tutorials on their own.
This is my 10 year old (he is now 11) son Ayden working from my Sprout tutorial to make his penpal a doll!
The Sprout doll is the absolute perfect size for smaller hands, and doesn’t overwhelm them. It uses much less materials than my traditional pattern as well, being only 7.5″ rather than 12″.
I am currently in the throes of teaching a group of 17 homeschooled children between the ages of 3 and 15 how to make dolls using this pattern! They are succeeding beyond my expectations!
Having a detailed photo tutorial is very important for the kids at this stage. They need to be able to really see how to do something. But they also need to be given a little nudge to do it without your help (or with minimal guidance) so that they are encouraged to grow in their skills.
I am going to be working on video tutorials so that this younger group (and everyone else!) can really see how certain techniques are done. I will blog them as I get them created! In the meantime if you have any questions or need any help for yourself or your children, please feel free to comment below or head over to my facebook page and message me!