Have this weaving activity for little hands in your back pocket for those days you want some quiet play. It’ll keep those preschool hands busy for a good long while, and maybe even create a bit of artwork to display in your home!
The weaving activity had been on my homeschool schedule for weeks. Somehow I kept postponing it: it’ll take too long, they won’t like it, it’ll be messy, I don’t have a Pinterest-cute chicken-wire frame…
If only I’d know what a success this weaving activity for little hands would be for my two little boys, I’d have started the school year out with this!
During our reading on The Middle Ages (we read this kid-focused children's history book!), the topic of storytelling through woven tapestries came up. My boys were fascinated by the scenes depicted on the hangings.
My teacher-sense kicked in and whispered, “Now! This is the time for the weaving activity!” (I found the idea in our preschool curriculum)
Although I didn’t have the requisite chicken-wire on a frame that would’ve made this activity too-cute for pinning, I decided to go ahead and gather whatever would make this work. The moment was ripe, and I needed to pluck this low-hanging educational fruit while I could!
I pulled out a bunch of old quilting fabric scraps and grabbed all the ones that were long and thin. Then, in lieu of a wire-frame, I plunked our orange wire piano bench in the middle of the playroom floor, and set the basket of bright, enticing fabric next to it.
Knowing that my boys often balk when asked to change gears, I called out, “I’m doing a craft!” and sat down and started working a length of fabric in and out through the wire spokes.
Like bees to honey, I thought as two blonde heads swiveled and wondered at this strange, new thing Mama was up to! “What is that!?” my oldest asked.
“I’m weaving. Like in the book,” I said. “You can try it if you like.” And without further nudging, he picked up a length of blue stamped with black and began tucking and pulling the fabric through the wires.
My littlest stood back for a moment until I handed him his favorite color: orange! He was in! Soon, both boys were busy threading and twisting colorful scraps in and out and over and under the wire frame of the bench.
We talked about how the colors made us feel. If perhaps the blue was a river running through a fiery forest of orange. They told me black was for night and green was for a forest. Shreds of the book-reading from the day before wafted off the pages of memory and into their steadily working little hands.
My busy little boys sat, stood, lay under the bench as they worked their new-found art. Gross motor skills met fine motor skills as stubby fingers pulled, pushed, and braided a rainbow of colors together. Zig-zagged lines, patterns of color crept around the tiny bench and transformed it.
Until finally, it was done. A cushion of fabric laced through the bench seat. My oldest sat on it and pronounced it, “more comfortable!” Then we all took a turn sitting on our new chair!
And I breathed a sigh of wonder. History, motor skills, textile arts… woven together like the pieces of fabric that now decorate our piano bench.
This weaving activity for little hands is so easy to recreate. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 20-30 lengths of fabric scraps or 1” wide ribbons. You could even cut an old t-shirt or two into strips. Make the strips between 1-2 feet long.
- A lattice of some sort. You could staple chicken wire behind a wooden frame. Or use a wire chair, baby gate, clothes basket, etc.
Show children how to tuck and pull the fabric through, and let them go to town. You might offer suggestions about making patterns, or how to connect two pieces either by overlapping or knotting. But generally kids get the hang of it and anything they do will work fine for this type of process-oriented art activity!
Bonus? It’s totally not messy, and you can reuse or repeat this activity over and over again!
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- Homeschooling a Preschooler: A Year of Playing Skillfully Curriculum
- Chocolate Playdough Cookie Shop Play Idea
- 101 Toddler Play Ideas: Arts & Crafts
Julie Kieras is a former English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. She is quietly amassing the world’s greatest little home library and enjoying life as a mom of two rambunctious boys. All while sharing ideas and tips for natural living and play on her family blog HappyStrongHome.com!
Find Julie online here →
Looking for more ways to keep little fingers busy creating and learning? Check out a few of these great kids craft ideas: