The teachers at Arlo's kindergarten asked me if I would like to set up a table with a sewing activity for the children this week. A is now at morning sessions along with many other 4-5 year olds, and it took me a while to come up with an idea of what I would do. The kindergarten is a wonderful place for children to be creative- all the materials and work stations are set up around the space, and children are free to move between them with guidance and support from the teachers if they'd like it.
A while ago the teachers placed a sewing kit, some scraps of fabric, scissors and needles on one of the tables, and were surprised that so many of the children wanted to have a go at sewing something. They did basic applique, and sewed patches onto capes and skirts, and fashioned bags from pieces of thick fabric, with long handles to wear over their bodies. Their only complaint being that the needles supplied were far too blunt to sew properly! (they were the thick darning-needle type.)
So this morning I packed a box with 'proper', sharp hand-sewing needles, dressmaking scissors, lots of felt, fabric and a jar of buttons, with the idea of making fabric brooches or decorations in mind. The children were so enthusiastic, they threaded their own needles and set to work. We also found a tray of small beads and sequins to add to our works of art.
It was amazing to watch the children totally engrossed in their sewing, and I realised that just as much as learning the skills of sewing, they were learning about patience, waiting their turn and the sharing of materials. I loved the way in which the children were so decisive in which fabric pieces they selected and how they would join them together. My suggestions were completely ignored. Quite right.
I'm thinking maybe next time we could try some simple embroidery...?
Extra ideas for sewing with children:
All manner of ideas for crafting with children at Kiddley
Montessori Services equipment for children's sewing, weaving and knitting