A recent birthday found Sky back with a needle in her hand stitching up a puppet for her three year old friend.
We make handmade presents here - an opportunity for the giver, an inspiration for the receiver and a whole re-education for all involved about what we value. There is quite a list of gift possibilities we draw inspiration from these days but it is the puppets Sky keeps returning to.
These are creations where her complete ownership can stay intact; her skills bringing alive her ideas.
Introducing Pengy the Penguin (loving those names).
> We find ourselves often drawing up patterns for things we want to make.
Drawing has always been one of our most useful problem-solving tools (as written about here). Beginning with a picture is a good place to start and allows us to figure out how the pieces might fit together.
Gunter and I have never drawn for our children and avoiding this, I realise, is a post in itself. For now let it be enough to say enjoy your children's own experiences of the world through their drawing (not showing them how to nor doing it for them).By doing so we allow them to retain ownership over their personal creativity.
I realise strategies are helpful.
When the girls were toddlers and floundering with how to draw something we supported them by talking about their experiences of the subject. Toddlers live through their senses and can access sense memories easily. By talking about what they saw, heard, felt and smelt, they very soon had begun to make a start at making marks on paper. As they have grown and actual likeness to the subject has become more important, at times they will access books to look at other reproductions of the subject.
Both "Magic Places" by Penni Brownlee and "It's Not a Bird Yet" by Ursula Kolbe are books that have supported me in supporting our children in their own creative journeys.
>Anyway, back to Pengy.
Once the drawing is complete, with the creator talk about and choose the shapes that might need to be cut separately, draw the extra parts and cut out the pattern.
> Find some felt or an old blanket you might have, pin the paper to the fabric and cut out the fabric.
Note on scissors and paper patterns...buy them their own fabric scissors.
> Stitch the puppet up using whatever stitch the child feels up to. The running stitch, as seen on Pengy, is a great stitch to use ... well, on the run. Blanket stitch is pretty but takes a little more time.
And of course a puppet can also be easily transformed into a softie by stuffing with wool or scraps of felt and adding a bottom.