Why Encourage Kids to Craft?

For those notified this was posted yesterday and are wondering at the brevity of this post……….I am learning to use the wordpress app on my mobile and obviously pressed the wrong button 😦

Background…

Where  passing on craft skills has skipped a generation it means that many children miss out on learning to make things at home. When I was a child every female relative plus the odd male could knit and a my Nan and Aunt could crochet……. so always plenty of people to teach me / help me when I got stuck….and let me raid their stash for the perfect colour for Sindy’s latest outfit – which is where my passion for designing knitted and crocheted items started…..

Now its a bit of different story for many kids. I’m not going to get on a soapbox but shops like Primark import cheap clothes from sweat shops in Asia and often its cheaper to buy a cardi or jumper for a little one, than it is to make one. And most dolls clothes come from Toy’s R Us  and similar chains. So there’s not alot of room for individuality and creating something that is totally unique…

So what’s good about getting kids crafting?

blog side banner1. Confidence and Achievement – when a child accomplishes making something – and no it doesn’t have to be perfect – then they feel good about themselves. They choose the colours, they think about how they want the finished item to look and they really enjoy being able to show off what they’ve made and make presents for family and friends. I taught my neighbour’s son to crochet a chain last week in the garden, his Mum and her friends all have bracelets and the cats are sporting additional collars, and he’s now getting into make scoobies and learning Macrame, and he’s not bored and driving his mum mad either 🙂

2. Imagination – its good for kids to imagine things, to have hopes, dreams etc. its gives them something to aim for and it allows their creative right brain to kick in and ultimately helps with things like problem solving in later life. If your child has made something – it could be finger puppets or a town or castle from loo rolls, they are engaged with what they are doing and are inventing stories and scenarios for what could happen there….which will help them no end with literacy at school too!

3. Literacy – if your child needs to follow instructions – knitting or crochet patterns, a design idea from Pinterest or instructions in a comic, then they are learning how to explain things in simple terms. With knitting or crochet patterns they are also learning about using abbreviations or codes and spotting patterns appearing in their work. They are practicing their reading skills without knowing about it and if they then go on to explain what they are doing to you or another child, they are also working on communication skills and how to share factual information- which will really help with literacy classes when they go back to school!

4. Numeracy –  making things often involves counting, measuring, pattern making or spotting. Knitting or crochet patterns also involve simple addition, multiplication and division. Making models from junk might involve arranging items according to size or shape, sharing things out or creating sets. All of these skills are being developed unconsciously from fun activities and can really help a child who is reluctant to engage in numeracy activities to improve their skills without even knowing about!

5. Social skills – when children learn in groups they learn a variety of social skills including sharing, co-operation, helping each other, speaking and listening, turn taking. All these skills help kids in day to day life.

6. Additional Needs – if a child has “special needs” they often lack confidence, especially in a classroom situation. But learning practical skills in a group doesn’t need to involve reading and writing. Practical skills can be passed through demonstrations and speaking and listening based activities. Crafting also helps develop motor control, so is great for kids with co-ordination difficulties. Lessons and equipment can be adapted or run at a “multi-skills” level to help your child feel included and part of the group. I often find that the kids who struggle in a traditional classroom setting excel in practical workshops as they are not anxious about being asked to read or write and so come in calmer.

Summer Holiday Kids Programme

Kids ZoneOver the summer holiday’s I am running some craft classes for kids at a variety of venues. Whilst instructions and patterns will come home with the kids, they will all be taught in a practical way, based on demonstrations and practice. Skills around counting, pattern making and speaking and listening will be included, along with encouraging the kids to help each other out. I enjoy working with children because they are willing to get stuck in and are not afraid to try or make mistakes. They choose riotous colour combinations, are proud of their achievements and go happy and keen to practice some more…. why not send them along to join in?  You can find all the details over on the events page. Alternatively you can also sign up to the Eventbrite RSS Feed for regular updates or register for our regular newsletter

Handmade Monday 125 – Teachers and Sun Hats

Before I start blogging, I first must apologise to all who commented on my last post for not getting back to you. in the last few weeks my daughter has had a threatened miscarriage – fortunately Junior is safe and happy and kicking well now – and for reasons I can’t discuss, needed to move home, so we’ve spent alot of time getting her sorted out, registering with GP’s, booking midwives and finding out about our local SureStart – who are brilliant!

Plymouth HoeI’ve also had a few tight schedule makes to do including a very special gift canvas for the former youth pastor at our church and his wife, as they’ve moved up North to take on their own church. So most evenings I’ve been flopped in the chair either crocheting or sewing following a mad day of juggling teaching and home. But we did have 3 lovely days in Devon staying with my brother and his wife and visiting my Dad. Dad’s still doing well and even walked with us to the pub in the village. Dad and I have identical walking frames and look a bit like a mad convoy coming along the pavements though lol!

I’ve been writing my newsletter this afternoon, if you’re not on the mailing list but would like to be or like to have a read before committing, you can find it here

Anyway moving on, here’s this week’s Handmade Monday- pop over to Handmade Harbour to either join in or spend the odd hour or two enjoying yourself viewing crafts from around the world, including some from well known names in the crafting industry.

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I’ve been really busy making teacher gifts too. I decided to experiment with foam sheets and see whether its possible to crochet into them with a fine hook…. the answer was a big yes! So I got some shapes cut out and proceeded to add edgings, embellishments and words to them. I wanted ribbon that said something about teachers but despite searching Hobbycraft and the Range from top to bottom found none, so I chose one ribbon that said thank you and another that said Handmade with Love. I made alot of them in the garden last week and ended up selling a few to neighbours and friends. I’m also going to pop them over on Facebook and Folksy this week and see if the few I have left sell. I want to try a few other ideas out now with foam and plan to write a tutorial too. Here are a selection of the gifts:

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Sun Hats

I’ve been doing some more Hobby Craft Demo’s and was asked to crochet sunhats. I have another coming up on Wednesday and plan to work on a boys baseball cap style one as my neighbour’s son is most miffed I only have little girly hats! I also have another on the hook at the moment using a spiral pinwheel pattern which I’ll be writing up for sale next summer.

The blue / lilac  hats are my own design and made from Smoothie – I think this is a lovely yarn, very light and airy despite being acrylic but I need to find a shop with a bigger colour range or start buying it online, I’m also making a pair of baby sandals to go with the “bluebell” inspired newborn hat:

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This little newborn hat is made in James C Brett dk in a beautiful colour way. Its crocheted in v-stitch and is from an Annie’s Attic pattern Hobbycraft sell, with a few embellishments of my own, such as a slightly smaller brim and the flower. I’m also making the spiral pinwheel hat in this colourway and would love it if “junior turns out to be a girl so she can model it for me 🙂 :

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Its been suggested by a couple of people who have fallen in love with this hat that I make it in adult sizings for the winter, possibly felted, using “victoriana” type colours. I’m thinking that a small spray of felted crochet flowers would add to the victorian feel -what do you think?