Summer is coming! Warm weather, sun, sand, surf… The thought of the beach put me in the mood to make flower leis with the kids.
This is a very simple lacing activity using fabric flowers and cut up plastic drinking straws. I bought the flowers from Educational Experience, an online educational supply store. These flowers have little holes in the centre of each one, perfect for threading. You could also make your own fabric flowers from fabric scraps, or use paper/tissue paper for the flowers.
Threading flowers and straws.
We cut pieces of yarn roughly a metre long, and tied a big knot in one end to prevent the flowers from slipping off. The kids alternated flowers and straws until they had filled their yarn up. I helped them tie the ends together to form a loop, and the leis were ready to wear.
The younger kids had some trouble keeping the plastic yarn needle on the yarn, so I tied the needle on for them. This allowed them to focus on the threading without the frustration of needing to re-thread the needle all the time. Once they were finished, we just cut the needle off and tied the ends together. The boys (who are only two) did very well with this activity, carefully threading their flowers and straws on. This is a great activity for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration. And it makes some lovely, bright leis for dressing up with!
Threading a patty-pan case.
Today we gathered together some dry pasta, cut-up straws, patty pan cases in two sizes, cotton balls and some string and set to work making a wall decoration for A’s room. I had some large plastic needles that A could safely use to thread her items onto the string. A cut quite a long piece of string so that it would stretch across her wall. I tied it off at the end so that the threaded items wouldn’t fall off the end, and then she got started. She used the point of the needle to push through the patty-pan cases and the cotton wool balls. The latter were reasonably hard to get the needle through, and she required some help with this, but she liked the way they looked once they were on the string.
She found that the straw pieces disappeared into the pasta if they were put together, so they were best separated by the patty-pan cases or the cotton wool. She had fun counting the straw pieces and pasta as she threaded them on too.
Once she was finished, I tied the string off, and we hung it up in her room. It was too heavy for blu-tack alone, so we tied one end to the curtain rod, and the opposite end to a hook that was already on the wall, with the centre section held up with bits of blu-tack at various intervals to give it a scalloped look. It brightened up her wall, and she had fun making it.