The craft instructor for children is patient, kind, and busy. The materials must be prepared in advance; then broken down to kits for each child. In addition, a sample must be made so the kids will have an idea of what’s being done. Volunteers should make the craft beforehand, so they can answer questions more easily. An ornament is a good craft, because it can be changed to a spice ball if ornaments are not part of the child’s life. This craft is designed for second and third graders, but older children will like it as well. There is no need to punch holes for older children; teach them the art of tracing the sewing pattern on the cloth.
A single-hole punch is one of the friendliest tools a crafter or teacher can have. They are usually available at the Dollar Store, so pick up a few extra the next time you stop at one.
Use the lid from a small coffee can or nut can as a pattern for the ornament.
Use different colors or patterns of heavy material, such as drapery material. Check your local thrift shops for any bargains on the material you need.
Plastic needles with large eyes
Light yarn, such as baby yarn, for sewing the ornaments together.
Felt and faux flowers for decoration.
Plastic sandwich bag for each kit
Craft Instructor’s Talent
Use the lid as a pattern. Cut enough circles so that every crafter will have 2 circles, in addition to the 2 circles for your sample, the volunteers, and three extra sets.
Punch holes ½ inch apart around the circle. This will be the sewing guide for the kids.
Cut the yarn into pieces long enough that, when doubled over and knotted, the length will sew the ornament together with enough left over for tying off.
Pre-thread the needles.
Separate the decorations.
Put two circles and some decorations in each bag.
Hold the needles until ready for use, as children will share their use (due to expense)
Help the child match the front and back of the ornament, matching the holes for sewing.
Staple the ornament in the center to hold it in place (the staple will be removed after sewing).
Show the children how the needle lifts and dives to create the stitch (sad to say, kids don’t sing and play “The thread follows the needle” anymore, so you will have to give a visual demonstration with the needle, yarn, and material).
Divide the group into teams, and assign a volunteer with each team, if possible.
Have the child put a flower stem just below the top of the ornament. The stitch will help it stay in place; once the sewing is done, use craft glue on the inside of the material to hold that portion closed. Show the kids how to make a fine line with the glue, so they can do this part.
When the child is finished sewing the ornament, you or a volunteer should tie off the yarn, and cut the needle away. Draw the needle up through the inside of the ornament, to keep the threads from fraying on the outside.
Rethread the needle for the ornament hanging loop. Double the yarn without knotting. Have the child put the needle through the hole on the top and pull it through until four inches of yarn are left on the thread end side. You or a volunteer should tie the yarn in a knot at the ends, leaving about one inch of yarn loose, to enhance the decorative theme of the ornament.
Let the children decorate the outside of their ornament with felt, if desired.
If the ornament is going to be a spice ball, let the child put four or five whole clove pieces in the ornament, and glue it closed, after sewing. Don’t forget the hanging loop.
Older children are more creative, and usually will not eat beads, sequins, and such. Using beading needles will give them the opportunity to design a unique decoration for a special event.
Have an exceptional holiday season and be crafty.
The above is the ideas and work of the author.