Yarn is a cheap and accessible way to have creative fun with your children or students. Yarn can be found at craft stores like Jo-Anne Fabrics, Michaels and other, but now we can also buy yarn for a dollar a skein at Wal-Mart. With the resurgence of people knitting it is also easy to find a variety of colors, styles and textures of yarn.
Here are five great projects that turn a rainy day into a creative, crafty day.
Finger knitting, is a way of using yarn and one hand to knit a rope or cord. In a very basic description, by looping yarn over your fingers, you can create a macramé type knit rope. The knitting comes out loose and can be used in many ways. Children can use their knit cord as an accent scarf, or a lasso. Finger knit cords can be stitched together to make a crazy quilt style throw blanket, or spiraled to make a fluffy bedside rug. Though while the crafty outcome is great for the child, the biggest benefit is a toning of the muscles used in fine motor activities like writing and using scissors and will benefit the child at school.
Making yarn shapes with glue is a messier alternative to finger knitting that can create crafts in both two-dimensions and tree-dimensions. By dipping yarn in a slightly watered down glue solution and wrapping it around a balloon, you can create a ball or spherical net that is both decretive and fun to play with. Simply pop the balloon once the glue is dry to leave a void in the middle of the shape. This can be done around a bowl or glass, though it is recommended to use plastic wrap to protect the item and make the yarn shape easier to remove. 2D shapes can be created by laying out glue-dipped yarn on wax paper to make pictures or shape that can later be peeled off and hung up.
Pom poms can be made by the dozens and turned into decorations, scarves, and animals or just about anything else your child can imagine. Martha Stewart has an easy method of making pom poms in her tips and trick craft page.
By using a simple piece of cardboard or Styrofoam and snipping guides on either end, you can create the space to string the warp threads and begin weaving. This activity can be used to encourage patterning or simple to help stock the kitchen with potholders, either way your child will have fun creating a textile piece and you will be happy with a bit of peace while they are busy weaving away. The following video is a great introduction to weaving with yarn and a cardboard loom. http://youtu.be/-ByYj5G4-Hc
This last activity is so simple but so fun all the same. Yarn is great for wrapping around things. As long as you secure the loose end, you can wrap just about anything is any color you want. Begin by leaving a two inch tail, laid against the object, then wrap over the tail to secure it, or an easier method with children would be a bit of tape or glue to keep the project from unraveling. A child could wrap a stick in sparkly yarn to create a magic wand, or wrap an empty bottle to make a secret potion. A simple craft store frame could be turned into a special gift by wrapping it in colorful yarn. If urban art is something that you embrace, there are many examples of yarn wrapped trees, street benches and railings that you can emulate on a crafty afternoon with your child.
Five projects with fluffy yarn can be just for fun, or you could use this method of play to help develop your child’s fine motor skills increasing their level of success at school. Either way, everyone wins.