It’s a little early, but National Keep Kids Creative Week is Sept. 26 – Oct. 6. And after all, summer is coming up and the kids are out of school. With so much emphasis in schools for kids to perform well on tests, and so much video game playing when they’re not in school, kids just don’t seem to have time to be creative any more.
As a quilter, you can change that for them.
Make special time during this week to involve your kids or grandkids in a quilting project. If they have expressed an interest in the past, this is the perfect time to enlist their help. If they haven’t expressed an interest, find a way to incorporate the things they love into a quilt design.
For instance, a child who has a favorite video game can draw a picture of characters or scenes from the game that you can include in your quilt. If the character or scene is simple enough to recreate as a pieced block or an appliqué, that’s great. Otherwise, scan the drawing then print it onto transfer paper and heat set the image onto a block of your quilt. In addition to encouraging a child to be creative, you have also created a personal memory he or she will cherish forever.
Since the holidays are approaching, get children to help you make fabric postcards to send for holiday greetings. The projects are small enough to be completed quickly. Have all the pieces cut out before beginning and show the child what to do, step by step. Older kids might even want to design their own fabric postcards. Younger kids can be involved by laying out fabrics on the table for you to sew together. Some might like to be assigned to embellish the fabric postcards. Consider the ages and interests of the kids you plan to involve and find a job for each, or let them each complete a postcard themselves.
For the youngest children, play find-it games with an I-spy quilt. Help them find colors and shapes and designs on a quilt top.
If you have time, why not volunteer to involve kids in quilting at a local school, library, church, or community center? Group projects could be as simple as passing out quilt block coloring pages or as involved as helping each student to complete a quilt. Perhaps you could discuss the history of quilting or, specifically, why you like to quilt. If you decide to talk about quilting, be sure to take plenty of samples for the kids to see and touch. Take magazine pictures, photos from books or online, and your own quilted creations to get and keep their attention.
Working with young kids? Take them quilt pieces that you have cut either from paper or fabric. Give each child enough pieces to create their own “quilt” block on paper. Give each child a glue stick and help them arrange their pieces to make a design. Have them create a name for their new quilt block design, too. Be sure to snap a photograph of the kids holding up their creations to put on your blog or website. (Be sure the school or group you’re working with gives you permission to post the children’s photos. Most organizations have photo permission slips signed by parents on file. Ask to be sure.)
If you are a teacher who loves to quilt, try working your hobby into a lesson plan during National Keep Kids Creative Week. Elementary teachers might work in a reading assignment about quilts or a story featuring a quilt motif. Secondary teachers might work in a history of quilting lesson or art teachers might challenge students to find quilting motifs in common surroundings.
It’s always fun when quilters can inspire a younger generation with their craft, and encouraging kids to be creative is an added bonus.