Handwork and Crafts with Older Children

It seems that everywhere one looks there are wonderful on-line stores and home businesses selling all manner of lovely craft items for children – young children. I can’t think why, but there is a distinct lack of craft kits and ideas for older children. Maybe people think that older ones (somewhere over 10) can just do adult crafts – but that really isn’t the case. And, of course, the Waldorf curriculum has definite indications for what craft and handwork activities are done when – and there are many!
I don’t want to reproduce the handwork/craft curriculum here – it is available other places. Instead, I’d like to list ideas for homeschoolers with older children who are running out of inspiration for things to make with their older (10 and up) children.
First of all, I need to mention HearthSong – they seem to make a real effort to cater to the needs of somewhat older children – many of their kits are very suitable for children up to about 12 or 13 or even older. We have used many of their kits over the years and have found them well organized with easy to follow instructions and with beautiful and ample materials. As it is February when I am writing this, some of you might like to think ahead to challenging Easter projects for your children. HearthSong has a wonderful Ukrainian Easter Egg kit which is certainly challenging enough for teens (and adults!). They also have a Decoupage Goose Egg kit which I haven’t tried but which I am sure lives up to the high quality of their other kits. Visit them at www.hearthsong.com  Here is a partial list of some of the kits which we have bought from them over the years and which my sons enjoyed doing:
lino kit
pine needle baskets
beaded snowflake Christmas ornaments
Various elaborate candle making and decorating kits
tie-dye kit
embroidery kit
Other possibilities which look interesting include a bead loom; a Mexican sugar skull kit; mosaic stepping stones; and various macrame, beading and jewelry making kits.
When no kits have been available or once we were confident to “go it alone” my family has often shopped either at our local Michael’s ( a craft store chain) or bought mail-order from Dick Blick:  www.dickblick.com You can find supplies for all the above activities as well as ways of further extending them. Using their materials, my sons
made various shaped candles and dyed and decorated them
carved balsa wood as a precursor to proper carving
got more things such as plain napkins to tie-dye
tried our hand at glass painting – watch out – it’s very toxic!
made some wonderful handmade books and paper
enjoyed scratch art (quite a nice way to work with black and white contrasting in the 6th grade curriculum)
worked on calligraphy
made a few simple things from leather
decorated boxes as presents
learned to emboss metal foil sheets
I hope you find many activities for your older children as well! And if any Waldorf-inspired crafts people are reading this, do consider making up some kits to sell – I know they’d be popular!

Posted on February 5, 2007 in 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Handwork, Older Children

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