One thing I try to prioritize when deciding what crafts to do with my children is the usefulness of the craft.
As cute and easy as little foam shapes are, adorned with pom-poms, glitter, and sequins, they often end up adding more to our clutter problem than to our life.
So when the time comes to create something for ourselves or for someone, I always try to make sure the end result will be useful in some way.
This winter, Bear was part of a weekly outdoor parent-child toddler class. (Which was amazing, by the way. Loved it so much!) The final winter class landed on Valentine’s Day and we ended with a celebration and gift exchange.
We were asked to bring homemade gifts that did not feature commercial characters. Examples of past gifts included everything from greeting cards to candles.
I thought about just making some kind of card. There are so many creative options to go with there.
Then the idea for hand-warmers hit me.
You know, the kind you warm up in the microwave and stick in your pockets or gloves to keep your hands toasty. (What some of us wished we had a few of the more frigid January class sessions!)
And, of course, for Valentine’s Day, we’d make them heart-shaped!
There were only 5 children enrolled in the class, so it wouldn’t be an unrealistically long project. We also already had almost everything we needed on hand.
To include Bear (who won’t be 3 until April) in the pouch-filling I put more rice than we needed into a little bin, and supplied her with measuring spoons and a little pitcher. (I would have offered her our chocolate funnel if could have found it.) I then showed her how to spoon rice into each heart pouch. She spent a long time happily filling the heart pouches and playing with the rice while I adjusted the amount of filling and sewed them shut.
This is as close to a sensory bin as I’ll get. There’s no way two of her older brothers would have ever sat and filled those pouches at her age. At least, not without pelting someone with rice or shoving rice up their noses or something. Gauge your child’s level of involvement based on your child’s particular strengths, abilities, interests, and needs.
Once the pouches were sewn, we packaged 2 per child in sandwich bags with little printouts of instructions for use.
We were told to only make tags say “from:” and not “to:” to make distribution easier.
This is brilliant, y’all. Definitely a trick I’m going to remember.
Whether they use them as hand warmers or bean bags, these are a quick, fun project that the kids really seemed to enjoy.