How to make a spring flower out of yarn is the third blog post and video for craft projects designed to support the play based learning aspects explored n the Spring Difference and Diversity Play Set. If you missed the other two posts, feel free to check out, Make Your Own Story Booklet - a How to Guide and How to Make a Yarn Butterfly Craft
One huge motivator for me in putting the play sets together is to help kids develop a love of storytelling. The original stories in the Spring Difference and Diversity Play Set are "Clover the Curious Wee Bee" and "The Three Butterfly Buddies". These stories introduce kids to the characters in the play set and encourage them to act out the stories using the toys provided. (There will be at least two more stories added to this play set over time.)
The goal is to encourage kids to then start making up stories of their own (which they can make their own story booklets for!). I find that props really help with this and encouraging children to make their own (backgrounds, booklets, scenes and characters) gets them invested in and feeling ownershop of the story.
Flowers feature prominently in both Clover the bee's story and The Three Butterfly Buddies. There is a lavender plant in the Spring Difference and Diversity play set and there will be an amigurumi pattern so you can crochet your own, but not everyone can crochet. So, to encourage kids to make their own toys and props and to do some crafting in the process, I’ve put together this video to show you how to make seriously easy flowers out of a pipe cleaner and some yarn:
In addition to being easy to make, I think these flowers are really cute and fun. You could make a bunch for Father's Day or as a teacher gift or just because.
But my kid isn't interested in crafting!
Owen is typically not terribly interested in activities outside of watching his iPad. If your child is like this then I strongly recommend NOT trying to "force" them to participate in crafts. I do recommend (as with so many other things related to learning) that you work on the crafts yourself and ask your child(ren) if they could please help you with some aspects of it. This gives you the opportunity to:
- get them to help you decide things like, yarn colour(s) to use, stem colour(s) to use, whether to add a button or other item to the middle of the flower. Giving kids choices about a project gives them a sense of ownership over it and getting them to make creative decisions not only encourages them to express themselves creatively but is an important step in developing critical thinking.
- Even if your kid (like my Owen) can't use scissors yet, they can probably wind yarn. This simple movement gives them practice in doing an eye-hand co-ordination activity.
- Doing crafts together allows you to talk about them together. In Owen's case, as he uses AAC, this gives me lots of opportunity to model asking questions, commenting and using lots of core language.
- One of Owen's favourite things is singing songs with actions. He loves "The Wheels on the Bus" so I'd change up the words to encourage participation, "the yarn on the fork goes round and round..."
- See if they will help you with gluing the middle of the flower. This gets them squeezing the glue bottle, placing the embellishment and holding it on while the glue dries. All of this is great fine motor work.
Simple crafts that even I can do give me an opportunity to encourage my kids to do something they might not have tried before and also allows me to assess their current skill set and interests. Maybe I'm underestimating what they can do and this enables me to see if I can get them to try and do something that's a bit more of a challenge?
Feel free to comment if you have other ideas or comments on to encourage children to participate in activities they might not initially seem interested in!