Needlework for preschoolers is such a wonderfully creative way to develop fine motor skills, creativity and concentration. It can be a very calming activity, making it perfect for quiet time.
R (5 years) has always been curious about my needlework projects. Whenever I pull out my embroidery (which isn’t very often these days, unfortunately!) he stands next to me and watches, and he always has a try at it himself. With Halloween approaching, I thought it might be fun to offer him his own needlework project to work on. I gathered up some black thread and yellow felt and we were set to go.
I used felt, partly because that’s just what we had on hand which was in a Halloween inspired colour, but also because being thicker than cotton or linen, it stayed nice and tight in the hoop. This meant that R had better control as he worked. The needle was a large darning needle. Darning needles are long and large so this was a perfect choice for his first sewing experience. Darning needles have a sharp point. If you would prefer to offer a needle with a rounded blunt tip then a tapestry needle would be the way to go.
After learning how to mount the fabric in the hoop and how to thread the needle, R was ready to begin stitching. This was not about making a perfect representation of a spider’s web. This was simply about learning how to move the needle in and out of the fabric to make stitches without looping the thread over the side of the hoop.
R’s dominant hand is his right hand and he usually (but not always) writes with his right hand. However he regularly performs tasks like this with his left hand, and he does it with as much control and ease as he would with his right. Even at five years old, I’m still not sure which hand he will end up writing with.
I knew he would enjoy this activity given how interested he always is in my needlework. It was so lovely to watch his smile as he worked on his web. Needlework is such a calming, meditative way to spend time. I was struck by how quiet R became while he stitched, lost in his creation. It was very peaceful. Seeing the effect it had on him I am now going to make a sewing basket for him so he can pick up a needle and thread any time he likes. I may even place it by the peace corner that I’m working on. What a lovely “calm down” activity that would be.
When he was satisfied that his web was complete, we made a spider together from pipe cleaners (chenille sticks). I cut one pipe cleaner into four equal lengths. We then bent each length as shown in the photo above. So first we bent it into a “V” and next we made small bends at each end to form the spider’s feet.
R attached two lengths of pipe cleaner at a time to his needlework. He needed me to start this off, but once I had attached them, he made several more securing stitches. Once the first two lengths of pipe cleaner were attached, we then applied the next two lengths, thus creating eight spider legs.
R loves the final result and so do I. I cut away the edges of the felt but left the needlework mounted in the hoop and hung it on the wall of our dining room. It does creep me out a little though. It might look a little abstract here, but when it is up on our wall, out of the corner of my eye I keep thinking there’s a real spider there! Maybe when Halloween is over we can make something less creepy to hang on the wall instead.
Here are some more fun Halloween ideas that we’ve enjoyed recently.
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