Crafting boosts mental wellbeing and helps to nurture creativity and self-expression, while also boosting social and language skills. It has the added bonus of aiding home schooling – crafting can support basic maths skills, through counting and measuring, and can also help children to learn about nature.
Instagram craft influencer Natalie Beard (@sewing_the_seeds_of_love) is passionate about crafting as a way to connect with and inspire children. As a mum to four girls, she’s had to become a pro at thinking up quick and fun ideas to keep their minds and hands active.
“Crafting with my girls has been extremely therapeutic for all of us, especially during lockdown.”
“I’ve always been a passionate crafter and have memories of digging through the toolbox as a child and making things from bits of wood and coloured lengths of wire,” says Natalie. “Crafting with my girls has been extremely therapeutic for all of us, especially during lockdown. It’s been a release – an escape from our worries and missing family and friends. Crafting has helped me mentally... it’s my little dose of therapy!”
Here are Natalie’s top easy and accessible crafting activities to try with children.
Flower pressing is a simple way to get creative with materials you can find on walks or in the garden. If you don’t have a special flower press, Natalie advises putting the flowers inside heavy books lined with paper. Use the pressed flowers to make cards to send to loved ones you haven’t been able to visit.
You can also use materials from your walks to create woodland creatures. “We found some twigs, took them home, then weaved them together with scraps of yarn to make birds to hang in our garden,” says Natalie.
Older children will love sewing simple shapes together to make animals. You don’t need to buy new fabric – just cut up any clothes destined for the charity shop. “My eldest got a sewing machine as a Christmas present a couple of years ago – she has lots of fun rummaging through old clothes and my scrappy fabric stash and designing new friends!” says Natalie.
Raid the recycling
“We often raid our recycling boxes for crafting materials – making sure they are clean and safe to use first, of course,” says Natalie. Let your imagination run wild with coloured paper, old toilet rolls and felt tips. “We used them to make lots of quirky characters and the girls then performed a play using them as puppets.”
Swerve shop-bought costumes and make your own! “We created a simple heart crown by bending and shaping together different coloured pipe cleaners,” says Natalie.