Give Thanks: 5 Projects for Kids

I was just perusing posts of Thanksgivings past as I prepare for a Day of Thanksgiving in my second grade classroom.  It's hard to decide what to do, but the Oreo Turkeys are a must!

Thanksgiving Story Bracelet (via My Montessori Journey)

Having a quick link roundup is always handy, don't you think?  Off to plan my lessons!

Happy Thanksgiving to your family from mine!

Make a Fall Wreath

 It's finally fall here in the south and we celebrated the season this week in Sewing Club by making fall wreaths.  I already have Frankie's hanging on our front door.  It's so sweet!
 We used foam wreaths found at Dollar Tree, but you could use any style of wreath or large circle.  The silk leaves and flowers came from various craft stores.  We cut them into smaller sections for the kids to use.
 To begin, you have to make strips of fall colored fabric.  This was one of the best parts!  We showed the kids how to make a small snip on the selvedge of the fabric and then rip the fabric down the grain line.  They got really into the ripping!
Once you have a collection of strips, start wrapping them around your wreath.  When you get to the end, just tie on another strip of fabric.  Once your wreath is covered, either tie off the ends or tuck them under.
 Now you can get creative and decorate the wreath with silk leaves, felt birds and turkeys, or pinecones.  The kids used hot glue mostly, but we found you could also sew the leaves onto the wrapped fabric.  Just add a ribbon for hanging.  We also found that they made super cute fall crowns!

Happy Fall!

Halloween Spoon Dolls

This week in Sewing Club we had fun making Halloween spoon dolls.   What a hit!  I had thought about spoon dolls before, but had never made them with kids.  Watch out - now I'll be making them every semester.   For awesome inspiration, just Google "spoon doll images".
They are quick, creative, use up lots of scraps, and are an instant toy.  Plus, they appeal to kids of any age.  After making them, the kids immediately began to put on puppet shows.
 You can certainly paint your spoon doll faces, but we used Sharpies for quick results.
 The project was totally up to interpretation.  I think the spoon above was influenced by Minecraft...
 ...while here the spoon became a witch's broom.
I love this amazing beehive hairdo spoon doll created by a fourth grader.  She wrapped yarn around a cork and then hotglued it to the top of the spoon.
The kids made the clothing and capes by cutting out rectangles of fabric, sewing a loose running stitch along the top and then pulling it tight so that it gathers up.  Use the extra thread to wrap the clothes tightly around the neck of the spoon and knot off.  We also used a lot of hot glue.
Spoon dolls ready for a Halloween party!

7 Spooktacular Halloween Party Crafts

Don't let the little monsters get out of hand at your class Halloween party!  Channel their energy into making a fun and creative project.  Here are some fun projects from Halloween pasts that will put the "Boo!" into your get together!

Silly Spider Web

I am excited to stitch up these Silly Spider Webs with a group of 2 and 3 year olds at the next Toddler Sewing and Storytime.  The little beads add color and double as "bugs" that the spider caught.  They are so easy and fun to make.

I was also thinking that they'd be a perfect craft at a Halloween party!

Any size of embroidery hoop (I used a 7in)
burlap (we used orange)
lacing strings or yarn
plastic needles
pony beads
plastic spiders
hot glue
Halloween-themed ribbon

If you are sewing with younger children or a large group, it's best to go ahead and fill the hoop with fabric.  Once you have the fabric in there tight, just trim around the back.

Thread a ribbon with a lacing string, tie a knot a the end, and get to sewing.  Encourage the kids to sew all around, any which way.  Every so often, stop and add a pony bead "bug" or two or three to the web. When the string runs out, knot it off in the back and start again with a new string.

When the web is finished, hot glue a plastic spider to the web.  Add about 12 inches of Halloween-themed ribbon to the top for a hanger.
If you live in the Memphis area, we'd love to have you join us at Toddler Sewing and Storytime!  It's on Tuesday, October 27, 9am, at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School.  RSVP and info at  This fun event is free for kids ages 2 and 3 and their grownups.  Costumes are optional!

Happy Halloween!

The Never Ending Journal

Ever since I came up with the idea for the Never Ending Journal, I've been waiting to sew them with kids!  This week at Sewing Club, we did just that.  
They immediately got into the project and couldn't wait to write in their very own journal.
 The set-up.  A rainbow of felt squares and a ton of foamie stickers.  I would have loved to have them embroider or add their own artwork to the journals, but we have limited time and I knew they would want to finish them that day.
 In my original design, I used super thin ribbon to sew the journal.  The ribbon can be a little hard to sew through the layers of felt.  Since there are so many young and new sewers, I thought that using craft thread would be easiest.
Cut a yard of craft thread then tie a knot about 6 inches from one end.  Fold the craft square in half.  Make a chalk mark in the middle and begin to sew to one end.  Then, tuck the thread all the way through the book, it's loose.  Keep sewing the other side until you get to your chalk mark.  Tie another knot so that the stitches won't come undone, then tie a bow.  If this is confusing, check out the step-by-step tutorial.
Time to make it your own!
 I love this little drawing!
 It's so easy to add paper and take out pages.

Time to fill the books with colorful paper, drawings, and stories.  

Sewing Mice in the Classroom

The Quiet Mouse project from Sewing School is the perfect classroom sewing project.  It's small, quick, adorable, and is open to interpretation.  Plus, it's easy to fit into the curriculum - there are so many stories that have mouse characters!  We read Aesop's "The Lion and the Mouse" in the beginning of the school year, and I always enjoy stitching up some cute mice to go along with the story.
I had all the supplies ready to go and gave the kids about 30 minutes to stitch their mice.  While I modeled the steps, I also posted the pages from Sewing School so that the kids could refer to the directions as they sewed along.
Here's what I love - a mouse (or maybe a dinosaur/mouse?) with felt legs!
This little guy worked so hard on his mouse and then wanted to sew another one!  
Such pride and a wonderful show of creativity!  

In the classroom, you can take this activity a step further and write a story about your mouse or put on a mouse filled performance.  We also had fun reading other stories with mouse main characters like If You Take a Mouse to School.

Apple Printed Fabric

 During Sewing Club we had fun creating our own fabric designs!  First, we watched this awesome Marimekko video of yards and yards of fabric being printed and talked about design on fabric.

Excited for fall, we decided to print our fabric with apples.  We also read a book about Johnny Appleseed and tasted a variety of apples.  Yum!

After all this inspiration, we were ready to design our fabric!
 The apples were cut into different shapes like halves, rounds, and quarters.
 Some kids used the apples like a paintbrush and made a picture...
 ...while others made a pattern.
 We used acrylic paint in the classic apple colors of red, yellow, and green.
 Yes, it got really, really messy!  So glad we used foam plates for the paint, and covered the table with a plastic tablecloth.  The paints got mixed and the apples were a mess, but everyone was happy.
The next week, we sewed with our one-of-a-kind apple fabric!  The kids were so excited to use their very own fabric to create a project.
 Everyone needs an apple bag!
This was my first time to print fabric with kids and I can't wait to try it again!