Sewing with Children

Oct 23, 2014


I've always wanted to do some sewing with my kids, but being someone who's not big on sewing herself, I've found it hard in the past to get motivated about it and wasn't entirely sure where to start. When our friend, Trixi from Coloured Buttons sent us a copy of her new book, "Sew Together, Grow Together" I knew this was going to be my best shot at giving it a go.

I love the idea of sewing with children as they would need to practice fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination, it allows them to be creative and resourceful, not to mention the fact that we could create, by hand, special, beautiful and useful things. Sewing can be challenging for children and they need to practice patience and concentration. The best part is the pride that they feel from creating, accomplishing something and learning something new.

One minor problem with attempting to do some sewing with my daughter (aged 5) was that her younger brother (almost 3) always wanted to join in too. As he doesn't have naps and we were yet to find a time that we could try sewing without him around, I needed something that would allow him to join in as well.

Sewing with a toddler


Materials:
  • 2 paper plates
  • hole punch
  • wool/string
  • Plastic needle (find these where you'd find sewing supplies. Alternatively you could wrap stickytape around the end of your piece of wool until it is stiff and needle-like)

Directions:
  • Hold 2 paper plates evenly together and punch holes through both plates all the way around the circumference.
  • Thread your large plastic needle with the wool (or wrap one end in sticky-tape)
  • Tie the other end of the wool through two of the holes to hold the plates together and to give a starting point
  • Show children to concept of pushing the needle through the hole and pulling out the other side. Push back up through the next hole and pull through. Repeat.

My son wasn't able to complete the plate sewing the entire way around. He got bored and gave up before he finished. He did however, get to experience something similar to his sister. He got to try and feel important and special. For the time he did work on it, you could see how much concentration and skill was required and he loved the special sewing just for him.

Sewing with older kids

If you are inexperienced with sewing yourself or with project suitable for kids, a good step-by-step book could be just what you are after. The great thing about this is that it can give you a great starting point, inspiration, templates and how-to's. It certainly made us feel more confident with finally giving sewing a go. The book we used, Sew Together, Grow Together was written by Trixi Symonds and photographed by Nicola Bailey. It is recommended for children aged 6 and up. (My daughter is currently 5y/o).


Maddie loved flicking through the full colour Sew Together, Grow Together book, trying to decide which project we would start with. She finally decided on the Hippy Bag which was fine by me as the majority of the sewing was in straight lines. I thought this'd be a good starting point for us.



I love that the book included templates and lots of handy hints. We chose to make ours without using any templates. The inspiration and instructions from the book were enough of a starting point for us and we love to be able to customise projects to our own tastes.

Trixi clearly knew the audience she was writing for when she did this book as it's full of the types of projects that kids are into.

How to sew a felt bag 



Materials:

  •  2 x rectangular pieces of wool blend felt for the bag
  • A long strip of felt for the handle (I stitched 2 smaller strips together to make one long strip)
  • Extra coloured felt for embellishments for your bag
  • Thread (embroidery thread is recommended in the book but we used some cotton thread we had. I think the other thread is slightly stronger so could be more appropriate for kids projects.)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle (Bigger needles easier for younger children)
  • Pins
  • Chalk/pens (something to mark lines on your felt)


Directions:

  • Draw the decorations for your bag on your extra coloured felt and cut out. In the book they decorated their bag with flowers. My daughter wanted hearts so that's what we went with.


  • Sew your embellishments together (this step happens before putting them on the bag)


  • Get one of the rectangular pieces of felt that will be the front of the bag. Draw a line along the bottom a few inches up. This line will be the line you sew the bottom of the bag and below it will be where you cut your fringe. Drawing it in now shows you where the bottom of the bag will be so you can centre your embellishments.




  • Sew your embellishment onto the piece of felt that will be the front of your bag




  • Place your 2 rectangular pieces of felt together to form the bag shape and then pin the handle in place.
  • Sew a square shape where the handles attach to the bag. This keeps them on really well.




  • The sewn on handle will help keep the bag together while you sew around the edges. Use pins to hold it in place properly so that it's all lined up.



  • Sew all the way around the edge of your bag. Try to keep the stitches as close together as possible to avoid having gaps in your bag.






  • When your bag is all sewn up, the last thing to do is to snip in your fringe. After all her hard work sewing (with minimal assistance), my daughter was too nervous to do the cutting of this bit so I did this bit for her.



Taa-daaa! My daughter was very proud of her achievement. The bag project took us almost all day. We would do parts of it and then if my daughter was getting a little frustrated with her pace (children tend to sew much slower than we would), we would leave it for a bit and come back to it. She was really glad she persevered and couldn't wait to take it to school for show-and-tell!


I hope you've found some inspiration to try some sewing with your children.
For a copy of Sew Together, Grow Together, you can purchase it directly from Trixi's Etsy shop in paperback or PDF format or from Booktopia here. You can also read a great review on the book by Children's Books Daily.

Happy sewing,
Debs :)


{Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I received a copy of Sew Together, Grow Together but was under no obligation to write about it. The opinions are my own or my children's}



BONUS GIVEAWAY FOR AUSSIES!
To win one of 5 awesome Zoku Machines. 
Pop over and enter here: http://bit.ly/1vqpiZy
(Hurry, ends October 24th, 2014 at 7:59pm)



Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
New Here? Subscribe to get all activities sent directly to you
Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner

8 Homemade toys for Babies

Oct 15, 2014

Having trouble during nappy change time with a wriggly baby? Try BabyLove Nappy Pants - with no tabs to contend with, the 360-degree stretchy waist allows you to pull them up quickly and easily, so your active toddler can get back to action in no time! Request a sample.


Having a baby (especially your first) can be an overwhelming experience. The world of BABY/KID STUFF is an extensive one, full of items you never knew you "needed" or even existed.
When it comes to entertaining your baby, the most wonderful toy for them is you. Watching you, listening to you, touching you. Time with you and other caring people is invaluable for their development.

There are also many fabulous pre-made toys and items for babies that in addition to the company of you and others, can help entertain, stimulate, sooth and aid in their development. There are so many things out there that you could be continually buying something new, however it's just not necessary. Often, with many of the toys marketed towards babies, they are able to use them very limitedly before they either out-grow or get bored by them. This is where making your own toys can be beneficial as you can provide new and stimulating items for them, often for a very low cost (sometimes completely free) and little effort.

For completely free "baby toys" around your house look:

  • In your kitchen (eg. plastic containers, metal pots/pans, muffin tins, plastic kitchen utensils etc.)
  • In the recycling box (eg. recycled plastic bottles, containers, lids etc.)
  • In the fridge/pantry (eg. make homemade baby paint with yoghurt and food colouring or dry items for shaking and touching like rice/dried beans etc.)
  • In your wardrobe (eg. pairs of coloured socks to match, hats/scarves to play with and put on etc.)


Use some milk bottle lids and a tissue box for a posting game.

Transform an ice cream container into a colour sorting game (babies can start playing with the colours and sticks and trying to get them through the holes and as they grow you can start adding in the colour sorting)


Fabulous DIY baby toys

If you're feeling a bit crafty, here are some gorgeous baby toys from my friends around the web. These DIY toys will entertain them as babies and toddlers.







See here for all our baby play ideas and for even more DIY toys (these are good for toddlers and older).


Happy playing,
Debs :)


Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
New Here? Subscribe to get all activities sent directly to you
Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
Having trouble during nappy change time with a wriggly baby? Try BabyLove Nappy Pants - with no tabs to contend with, the 360-degree stretchy waist allows you to pull them up quickly and easily, so your active toddler can get back to action in no time! Request a sample.

Cheese and Veg Muffins. Cooking with Kids

Oct 14, 2014

October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.



Inspired by Doc-tober and the healthy living and wellbeing messages in the Disney Junior Doc McStuffins series, we thought we'd make some "Doc McStuffins Cheese and Veg Muffins."

Giving it a funny name caught the kids' interest right away and involving them in the cooking process gave us plenty of opportunities for chatting about foods and healthy eating, as well as engaging the kids in the math, science, literacy and kitchen skills that come with cooking.

We've previously made a savoury ham, cheese and spinach muffin with great results so it was easy for us to tweak this one up in the healthy notches by replacing the ham with extra veggies. Using the base recipe, you can swap the included veggies for ones that you have available or that your kids prefer. Using similar quantities to what we have here will make a light and fluffy muffin, or you could add even more veggies for a slightly heavier, denser muffin. It's fun experimenting.

Here's how to do it. Children will require adult supervision in the kitchen and may require some assistance with some of the steps. See the bottom of the post for the simple instructions in full.

When cooking with kids, it's good to get your ingredients out and ready in a way that makes it easier for them to access and follow instructions. It gives you an opportunity to talk about the ingredients and quantities before you start.

Don't forget to pre-heat your oven and prepare your muffin tins (we spray lightly with vegetable oil).

 Sift your flour into a large bowl

 Whisk your eggs

 Finely chop your veggies. (You may need an adult to assist with this bit)

 Make a well in your flour and tip in your cheese

 Add your corn

 Add any other veggies or herbs

 Pour in your milk

 Pour in the egg

 Mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined

 Divide between your pre-oiled muffin tins

 If you like, you could add a fresh basil leaf on top

 Bake in the oven until golden brown on top

 They smell good fresh from the oven

 Leave to cool on a wire rack

While they are still warm, cut in half and serve. They are delicious with a little spread of butter.

Once they have cooled completely, you can freeze them for other days. They microwave well for a quick warm snack or sent off to school in the lunchbox.


Cheese and Veggie Muffin Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 250g grated tasty cheese (approx 2 loose cups)
  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups of milk
  • Small can of corn kernels (125g)
  • Half red capsicum
  • Large handful of baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves to add to the mix and on top (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F)

Sift flour into a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, chop capsicum, spinach (and optional basil).

Make a well in the flour, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.

Spoon into a greased muffin tray (pop a basil leaf on top of each, optional) and bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Makes about 14 regular muffins or 12 large ones.


Enjoy!


Here are some more Recipe ideas you may want to try with the kids:




Happy cooking,
Debs :)



Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
New Here? Subscribe to get all activities sent directly to you
Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.