Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eggcelent Felt Fun

Our felt eggs thus far...

Easter is right around the corner! There are so many great activities to do at Easter time as we prep for this very special religious holiday. Ironically, Lachlan has been picking up his toddler Bible from the shelf a lot more this week so we have been reading quite a few stories about Jesus. I have to laugh when my husband reads him these incredible shorten versions of the stories and says, "these stories just don't make any sense!" To an adult they are so simplistic with no beginning or end really just a little clip from the middle. You don't know how someone got somewhere or where they went after! Lachlan particularly likes looking at the Garden of Eden because there are a lot of animals and of course the snake which his his favourite. He just doesn't get that the snake isn't the 'good guy' in the story!

As you might know, we've been getting pretty crafty in our household latley; especially in the area of felting. Certainly not a felt master by any means but we enjoy experimenting and getting ideas from the real pros--you know, the ones that have these amazing blogs showcasing all their felting creations. I am truly inspired by them!

Fun splashing in the soapy water
Adding a bit more soap
It always seems that whenever there are holiday festivities for children there is candy involved. We don't do candy in our house as my hubby is in the teeth business.(Well, the candy we do 'do' I have to sneak and eat in secret, shoving the wrappers to the bottom of the bin hoping they go unnoticed!) For a lot of families, holiday treats are easy: they just pick up a bag of chocolate eggs and a few chocolate bunnies and the are good to go. We certainly aren't hard core sweet nazis so we don't mind a little piece of chocolate on a special occasion but we certainly don't want to hand over a whole basket full of sugar and caffeine to our toddler. Really, doesn't that just sound crazy on so many levels? You are really asking for it! Plus, I've seen so many children go into melt down when presented with their very own basket of sweets only to be told they can only have one piece now and the rest will have to be saved for later. I mean, REALLY?? How many children whose eyes are aglow over their basket of goodies are going to agree so easily and say, "Of course, mom. It is better to pace myself..."...Uh...not many! It is like dangling a smelly, juicy sausage in front of a dog and setting it on the table and telling him he can't have it until tomorrow. Way too much temptation! I would suggest just keeping the sweets to a minimum. If you have extras, store them so your child doesn't know you have them and take them out as a nice surprise when they are allowed to have a special treat. You just might avoid a lot of begging and sneaking around.

Rolling egg on bamboo mat
So on to my point...I really wanted to make something fun for Lachlan this year for his basket. We aren't into too many sweets and I'm not big on plastic eggs so I wanted to avoid filling his basket with those items. My cousin sent me the most wonderful link: , which has so many amazing Steiner inspired craft projects you'll fill up a whole 'to do' craft list with them. There was an idea for felt eggs and I thought that it would be just perfect for Lachlan. I had made him some felt balls which have been his favourite around the house and I thought he'd like these as well. We also went to our local Show/Fair last weekend where he saw baby chicks, roosters and ducks; some which laid eggs so he's been quite fascinated with the whole idea. You can go on to the above website for directions on how to felt. It is very easy. I decided to make these eggs using some Styrofoam eggs I picked up from the $2 shop. I used those eggs as my core and then felted around them. Yesterday morning Lachlan and I drove out to our local wool works farm to buy some more roving and dyed wool. I asked Lachlan what colours he wanted and he was very set on pink and black. He was delighted to see how many shades there were to choose from. We left with an overflowing bag of various wool colours and another bag of carded wool. We of course could not leave until we said hello and good-bye to the sheep.

I really like felting because it is something very creative to do with your children that exercise a whole host of developmental skills. Mostly, it works on sensory development; the texture of wool, splashing of water, slippery soap. Children can feel how the texture of the wool changes, starting very soft and fluffy, turning into a slippery ball while the soap suds form and then eventually as the friction does its work, the wool tightens up and soon you have a beautifully formed creation. It also helps with motor skill as you roll the ball in your hands and on the bamboo mat. Another important lesson that is taught is sequencing as we follow a series of steps in a particular order to achieve the desired result. All of these wonderful things are learned by the child while at the same time having heaps of fun. Better yet, at the end of this learning session the child has a wonderful work of art which he has created!
Showing off one of his marble eggs

Lachlan and I are still in the process of making our eggs for Easter but I thought I'd share a few that we have finished thus far in hopes to inspire you to get creative with your little ones. Whether it is felting, cutting or drawing eggs I hope you'll find a way to share in the Easter fun!