A Fun Way To Learn

December 16, 2009

When my oldest son was about 3, his Waldorf teacher introduced us to sewing cards. Cardboard, plastic or foam shapes that had holes punched in them to teach little ones to learn the basics of hand sewing. I honestly believe that those cards helped to make my sons more able to handle an embroidery needle as they got older.

One of my closest friends recently expressed that her four year old had little to no exposure to art in the classroom, and that she herself felt less than comfortable teaching him at home. She joked that she would fix my plumbing and paint my house if I could teach her little ones art every week. So began our Tuesday afternoon ritual, where her son, Gabriel, comes to our house to play and create.

I had recently looked into buying a set of sewing cards for my niece, and I was amazed at the expense of something that looked pretty simple to create. Yesterday , as we gathered for our art time with our friend, we decided to give our own cards a try. These may be one of the easier, and more useful projects that you can do with little ones, and the reward is just wonderful


Using a cookie cutter, or a free hand drawing, trace your picture onto a piece of cardboard (we used packing boxes that we had in our pile to go to recycling)


Once the object has been traced, an adult will need to use an x-acto or other sharp blade to cut the object out.


When the card is cut, children can have a ball coloring, painting, or decorating it any way they wish


Once the card has been decorated, punch holes around the edge.


We used a piece of yarn with painters tape wrapped around it to make it easier for little hands to get the yarn into the holes, but a shoe lace would work great as well


Once the yarn has been chosen, and the card is ready, than the fun of sewing begins. There is a great rhythm to children sewing these cards, and watching their concentration and enjoyment is so much fun


Once it is finished, you can take it out and start again, or move on to a more challenging card.

Jacob had a great idea to make a few of these for friends for the holidays, and I can’t think of anything better for them to create.

Hope these bring your little ones the magic of hand sewing.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Maribeth December 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm

My kids have enjoyed sewing and lacing cards as well. You could expand on what you made by making some larger "background" cards with the same pattern of punched holes so that the kids can "sew" their piece onto it. For example, we have a set that has the child "sew" clothes onto a figure. Fun.

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Brooke December 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

What a great idea! We have some sewing cards, but they are pretty intricate for my 2 and 3 year old… so they get bored after just a little bit! These could be made much simpler and the kids would love helping! Thanks so much!

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Brooke December 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

That is a great idea, too! Love the "sewing" on of clothes to a figure. My kids are always trying to copy me sewing!

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Shivayamama December 16, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Oh that is a great idea! I am going to have to do that with them this week. Thanks for the idea

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Thenotsotiredmummy December 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm

what a great idea

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Its_Lily December 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm

What an adorable idea. I never thought about making the cards out of cardboard and letting the kids decorate the cards. I must get this 'doing it for them' out of my head once and for all. Having said that, I just taught my granddaughter to do basic embroidery and I stepped away after helping her with the first couple stitches. She did great and was so proud of herself!

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5orangepotatoes December 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm

So clever using the cardboard! They probably enjoy it even more since they created them.

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Kelly December 16, 2009 at 4:09 pm

these are so cool – wish I would have thought of it sooner!

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sowabisabi December 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm

like everyone else…I think these are great. maybe I could get some together for jude for christmas. and I like the idea of sewing shapes, clothes, etc. onto a larger shape. I'm thinking a truck with wheels and other parts that get sewed on.

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Shivayamama December 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Oh that is a great idea! How fun for the kids to put something like that together

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quirkygranolagirl December 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Another great idea again! I love that the kids can decorate their card first.

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Valarie December 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm

This is such a wonderful idea. I like Jacob's idea about making them for gifts. They make for many moments of fun playing. Most of all I like the decorating the cards first. Thanks for sharing your created moments.

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Certain Creatures December 16, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I had forgetten all about my first tries at sewing and thanks to your post it all came back! I just now remembered my mum bought me a sewing set of Disney cardboard cards and it had little strings of wool just like this!
😉 sweet memoriessss :)
Have a lovely day!
Francesca
*°*°*°**°*

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Ivy December 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Oh, they would have so much fun with this. It sounds like a great birthday/holiday party activity too.

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vanessa December 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm

I might have to make a few of these for my 3 year old neice.
thank for sharing!

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kyndale December 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm

It's a great activity for kids. Most of the fun is all about creating them too!

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nicola December 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm

sew sew cute (pun intended). i wish my kids liked these, but so far, my daughter has gone straight for the real needle and thread!
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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Andrea December 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Wonderful! That snowflake would make a great ornament.

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Lisa December 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Wonderful idea! I've been trying to come up with some ideas for inexpensive stocking stuffers for my 3 year old, and you just gave me one! Thanks!

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Nina - tabiboo December 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm

What a wonderful and inexpensive idea and one that would keep any little one amused for hours.

Have a lovely day,

Nina x

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Arianne December 16, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Nice! We just got a box full of awfully large cookie cutters that would make great shapes for sewing cards.
Also, there is a book I saw once at the local library~ I can't remember what the name was~ but it had all kinds of ideas for getting kids started on sewing and in it were a few cute little shapes to trace onto sewing cards.
Have a graet weekend! Arianne

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Maeghan December 16, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Cameron always asks me to teach him to sew. This is a great idea!

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AdirondackMama December 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm

I always loved these…Eben has some from when he was little that have a lace. Leave it to you to come up with a way to MAKE one! Awesome.

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Stephanie December 17, 2009 at 12:19 am

So cute, I'll have to remember this one!

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Jasie VanGesen December 16, 2009 at 5:57 pm

What a lovely idea! I wonder if Silas is a bit too old for this or if he'd still enjoy it?

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Lisa Q December 17, 2009 at 2:42 am

that's a wonderful idea…my kids used to like to lace up sewing cards too. They would have loved to have created their own.

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larissa December 17, 2009 at 3:32 am

I'm always inspired by your willingness and determination to make things – and to incorporate your kiddos in that making. My kiddos loved lacing cards – and stringing beads – when they were younger.

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geek+nerd December 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Really cool! I will keep these in mind to gift to my nephews and niece for the future!

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Tonya December 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm

This is something I have been meaning to do – I like how you involved your boys.
Warm wishes.

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Julia December 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm

love it – we do these too, and maybe more fun than lacing itself, is watching this plaything come alive before their eyes…mommy made, they helped and this is FUN!

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Kerry December 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

What a good reminder Heather. We have some pre-made sewing cards and I have some that I made when I taught preschool. I tried them with my son when he was a young three and he had no interest. Now he is four and has progressed in his fine motor development. I will have to pull these out and give it another go! I might have to make a few more too… how fun!

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mamaayanna December 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm

This is all so inspiring! thanks

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Shivayamama December 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm

These are just so easy, and even if you have your niece and nephew with you, it is a good way to eat up some time :)

Warmly,
Heather
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Shivayamama December 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Thanks Lisa. How are all the holiday preperations coming? You and family look like you are having a wonderful season. Enjoy!

Heather
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Amber December 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Thanks for the lovely idea!

I'm going to make some this evening with one of my favorite little guys (not mine, I care for him).

Thank you for sharing.

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Carolyn December 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Dear Heather – making the stuff to do the craft is usually half the fun, isn't it! I like the idea of self-decorated sewing cards, will have to try these "from scratch" cards. I agree that pre-made ones seem expensive considering what they are… just found this free download at Chez Beeper Bebe, they are cool-looking simple animals, I used white card stock and my kids colored them in (and helped with the hole-punching). http://chezbeeperbebe.blogspot.com/2009/06/tutori… A preschool teacher friend has said that the sewing hold is very similar to holding a pencil, so sewing and embroidery really help with learning to write and draw.

Thanks so much for your special blog and your new magazine, best of luck in that endeavor.

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Allegra December 20, 2009 at 1:24 am

oh heather. i think i have at least 10 of your posts saved on my bloglines just from this past fall/soon to be winter season. i love love love this blog, love reading about you and your family and all of your crafting. you are truly a beautiful inspiration, and if i can do even half of what you do with your children, i would be happy.
where is your favorite place to buy craft supplies, both waldorf and not? i love those crayons. satya has a couple that she got from her school (front range waldorf). i need to find more and am desperate to find her good paints that will last a long time. she's become very interested in using all of her paints as finger paints and coloring her entire body!
i hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season. thank you for everything you do.

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Allegra December 20, 2009 at 1:26 am

oh btw, i got satya some lacing/sewing cards and she loves them. i am going to have her create her own this week, using your post as a guide! thanks!

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