"Preschool" fine motor skills - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-28-2011, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure if this is the right forum to put this, but it seems like something homeschoolers, especially waldorf-y homeschoolers would know, so I'll try here first.


My homeschooling (does it even count at this stage?) 2.5 year old has pretty good fine motor control for her age, but she is really really interested in learning how to knit or crochet or sew or really do anything crafty that I do. Unsurprisingly, her skills are no where near where I can even begin to teach her how to do a chain stitch. So what can I do to encourage her to develop the necessary skills to do yarn work, or to meet that desire for her development?


She'll be getting some sewing cards for Yule and she already knows how to string very large beads. I've also tried to teach her to braid with pipe cleaners, but that didn't work out too well.


Any ideas?

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#2 of 6 Old 11-28-2011, 01:28 PM
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Have you tried finger-knitting with her? I can't remember how young my kids were when we started this but I did find mention on my blog of my youngest already engaged in finger-knitting at what would have been 3 years 4 months. She too has good fine motor control, so this is probably a bit young for most kids, but it worked for her and it might work for your dd -- if not now, then soon. 


How about felt board "crafting"? Might that feel crafty enough for her?



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#3 of 6 Old 11-28-2011, 05:01 PM
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I love sewing with wool felt, my girls find it so easy.  (Not that we do  it that often, but when the mood strikes.)  You can also make felt board animals with it if you draw the animal on stiff paper and use that as a template.  Make one shaped like a person to dress with felt clothes.  My girls play with them as they are, without the board.  My nearly 7yo has designed many of her own felt board horses, 12 I think at last count.  Stitch 2 of these together with a little stuffing to make a play animal.  Stuff fish-shaped ones with catnip for cat toys.


Needle felting is not difficult, but it would take a leap of faith that a preschooler won't skewer herself with the needle!  Plastic cross stitch fabric is sturdy enough for more freedom with stitching than shaped sewing cards (we do love the sewing cards).  Pompoms can be made with a homemade cardboard template, which I like better than the plastic pompom "makers".  Pompoms make excellent meatballs and straw bales and balls to throw, whatever.  Little weaving looms can be fun with fat, colorful yarn.


She can also help you with some crafts, choosing scraps of fabric and rick rack for simple clothespin dolls.  My girls also love "knitting" along side while I knit.  I've offered to teach them, but they are not *that* interested yet, even though they picked out their own yarn and short needles.  Sometimes the best thing is just to do things yourself and wait for the moment to come when she wants to learn.


I don't know if it's very waldorfy, but we bought fiskars scissors (for kindergartners, sharper than the ones for preschoolers) and cut paper dolls out of catalogs, usually Hanna Andersson or the American Girls catalogs, Firefly, etc.  You can also introduce easy paper-folding crafts.





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#4 of 6 Old 11-28-2011, 08:16 PM
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Sewing cards are a great idea you can also punch hoes in fabric and let her 'sew' with it using a crochet needle . 

actual crocheting/knitting isn't introduced in waldorf until 1st grade so that wont really work.


Do you spin at all? Ive had good luck using my drop spidle. I made one for DS1 using a wodden wheel and dowel from Joanns which I attached some  pre spun yarn to (so it doesn't break and frustrate him) once they get the hand of spin/park/wind they can start adding roving. I know little kids as young as 2 that are actually pretty good at it. 


SOmetimes just having the same materials to play with in her own way will please a younger child enough. Maybe have her own 'sewing' basket with scraps, yarn, glue, safty sissors, and maybe some cloth pins or wooden figures to dress?



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#5 of 6 Old 11-28-2011, 08:27 PM
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You can also punch holes in card stock or a paper bag, and use yarn with a plastic needle for her to "sew" with. My grandmother taught me that way when I was young.

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#6 of 6 Old 11-30-2011, 07:06 PM
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Some other ideas:

plastic canvas, thick yarn, and a plastic needle to let her "sew" her own patterns.


a med size embroidery hoop and a thicker needle w/ some pretty embroidery thread, show her how to go up from the bottom side and then back down from the top.


do you have an old wire cooling rack? I had my preschooler "weave" over and under the wires. I made a shuttle out of a pipe cleaner, and used some ribbon and thick yarn (fabric strips would work too).  It took several tries before he was getting the hang of it.  If it was up to him the first few tries he would have just wrapped the ribbon around the whole thing. :)




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