Monday, November 18, 2013

Ladybird bean bags // learning to stitch

First on our bug week is little ladybird bean bags. Ladybirds are Emma's favorite at the moment. She seems to find them everywhere and last night I acutally found two ladybirds inside our house that she must have carried inside.

I've wanted to try if I could teach my 3 year old to stitch. Is it even possible for a 3 year old to master a basic stitch? That's what this craft is all about, and it doesn't mean you can only do this with a 3 year old, in fact I'd say that it will work better with older children than a 3 year old.

Felt is a great material to use in kids crafts as it doesn't fray and it's easy to cut. However glueing felt pieces together is almost impossible with normal glue, so stiching those pieces together is the best way to go.

Here's what you need for this craft:

  • felt
  • embroidery thread
  • needle (quite big one)
  • paper and pen
  • scissors
  • rice or dried peas
  • sewing mahine (optional)
  • snacks (optional but makes it heaps more fun)

We used a hot chocolate container as our round shape to draw a template, it was just the perfect size for this. So the first thing for you to do is to find something round in your home and use that to draw a round template. That will be the size of your ladybird. Kids can do this part on their own with just little instructions. I cut out the cirle out of the paper, but older children could do this part on their own as well.

We did most of this project outside on a picnic blanket because it was such a beautiful sunny day. The snacks helped her to stay focused as she was able to sit and snack while I did some parts. Sultanas, apricots and other dried fruit are a good 'no messy' snack, just a hint hint.

Then it's just a matter of choosing your colours and cutting out the pieces. You need two round pieces of the same colour and then one set of your black parts. I used that circle to cut the black head for our ladybird and the spots I just cut freehand. You could use a coin, for example, to cut the spots, but I'm not that fussy.

For the needle you will need a quite large one and it needs to be sharp so that it will go through the felt layers. So don't leave your child unattended, help them along the way and stay there to see that they don't poke themselves too much with the needle. Go up and down with your needle and thread attaching the head first.

I did the first few stitches so that Emma could see what we were doing and how to do it, then she had a go for couple of stitches and I finished it off. Team work, that's what it's all about.

Above is a picture of what it should look like on the wrong side. Don't aim for perfection if your child is older and doing it by themselves, this is just rather neat because I was helping her all along the way.

Then assemble your spots and see where you want them. We stitched each spot with two stitches aiming to make a X but it didn't always work, oh well I thought, as long as it stitched them together. We took turns in stitching the spots, I did the first one and she run around the yard and had some snacks, then it was her turn to make the stithes, so we went until all the spots were done. It worked great as she didn't have to stay still and focused for too long and she still got a good amout of praticing stitches.

Towards the end the snacks were almost gone.

Once you're all finished attaching the head and spots, it's time to attach the two pieces together. I used a sewing machine just because it's so quick, but if you don't have one you can just as well hand stitch the pieces together. Remember to leave a gap where you can fill the bean bag!

You can use rice or dried peas or why not lentils or even sand. Fill your bean bag and sew the gap closed.

 Make a few more and have fun! Throwing, catching, hiding and finding, there's just a few things we've done with ours.


Now what other ladybird things could we make? Paper plate ladybird? A terrarium for real ladybirds?

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