Thursday, November 19, 2009

Secret Keeping and Gift Making

My two-year-old is a genius. It's true. Yes, I know, all us mothers say that about our children. But this time I really mean it. My toddler has learned to pin and iron and sew. Carefully, carefully supervised, of course, but nonetheless, he made his daddy's birthday present, then helped me wrap it up. And the best news -- he loved every minute. In fact, now he sometimes puts down the Thomas the Tank Engine and says he wants to do some "ironuning" and pinning. Here's some suggestions for including your toddler in your crafting projects.

My first word of advice is to choose a project that's small and has lots of short steps -- sitting around pinning for 10 minutes is really just going to end up with someone getting a pin stuck in their foot, or nose, or whatever. Then, get some sort of kid-proof container for the pins. I liked the fact that the pins were not being opened and closed (and landing on the carpet, only to be found again by bare feet) without me controlling it. Again, who wants a pin in their eye? I also recommend not involving the toddler in the cutting at all. Unless you have some child's safety scissors, I just don't think you, your project, or your child's clothes/appendages will survive it.

With the ironing, I suppose it depends on how well your toddler understands hot and don't touch. As I mentioned previously, my son is a genius, so he understands them perfectly. Ahem. Almost. What I did was set the iron on the lowest heat I could to make it work. Then, I explained in as graphic a detail I could that, if he touched the hot part, he would get a really, really bad owie. Here is where you can call on your long-suppressed desire to be an actress and mock-touch the hot part of the iron and recoil in horror. I also adjusted the ironing board so it was at the perfect toddler hight. Then, I showed him how to take the handle and run it up and down the ironing board. He did manage to touch the hot part of the iron for a split second, and more so for dramatic effect than anything else, I then rushed him downstairs to put ice on it. He then definitely got the message that the hot part is hot, and not to touch it!

For sewing, I set the little guy on my lap while I sewed. I also explained that he must not put his fingers by the needle or move any buttons (which, of course, was not a direction that was completely followed). I did give him two "jobs," which seemed to be enough to keep his interest. As a side note, if you have not yet started giving your tot jobs, try it. Our kid thinks it's the coolest thing ever if it's called a job. His jobs were to remove the pins as I sewed and put them back in the box and, upon command, push the reverse button to double back on the stiches.

When the project was done, I let him wrap it and choose a bow. He's been carrying the present around from room to room since yesterday when we finished it. Obviously he's extremely proud of his work, and cannot possibly wait two weeks until daddy's birthday.

Next up: toddlers learn needle felting. AHhhhhhhh...maybe I'll hold off on that.

Know any other great projects for kids?


Jen said...

Yay! I can't wait til my tot can help with my crafts. Right now I let him carry the yard stick around the craft room while I'm working.

Anonymous said...

Better late than never................

Lisa at Lil Fish Studios said...

I love this. I tried teaching my 3 and 4 year old boys to sew using that plastic grid stuff. I gave them a blunt needle that I had (so I thought) smartly tied to the grid. All they had to do was weave in and out, which they did until they discovered that they could instead whip the pieces of plastic around by the tethered needle/string and hit each other with them. way. I've had enough ER visits this year thanks. They do like to "felt" though using cotton balls and toothpicks.