Summer is so much more than just spending time at amusement parks, splashing at the waterpark, or building sandcastles at the beach. There are plenty of rain-drenched afternoons and hotter-than-a-frying-pan days when the kids just want to stay close to home, hang out with friends and enjoy quieter activities like sitting around the table making crafts. That’s when a yarn stash will come in handy, all those tangled bits and bobs which seem to have taken on a life of their own, will now have a crafty purpose. Kids love to work with their hands, exploring texture, colour, and expressing their creativity.
Be ready for those moments when the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ expressions let loose, by turning your backyard into a summer craft zone, complete with a picnic table and oodles of colourful yarn, white glue, a bag of balloons, wooden sticks, and paper plates. You will see miles of smiles with these eight simple yarn craft ideas-
Unique artwork doesn’t necessarily require a paintbrush. Kids will have a riot of fun combining vibrant colours for this bull’s eye design made entirely with leftover yarns.
Supplies: Chunky weight yarn, craft glue, heavy paper plate, scissors, foam brush.
To make: Brush the inside of a paper plate with white glue. Begin at the centre point of the plate, wind yarn closely in a circle, press down firmly to adhere, continue in a circular fashion, keeping strands of yarn close together to cover the plate completely. Change colours as desired.
Corking, also known as spool knitting, is a great way to introduce young children to the mechanics of knitting. The original version consisted of a wooden spool with tiny nails hammered into the rim, but why not encourage the kids to make this crafty gizmo, its easy-to-handle and fun to personalize in their own creative way.
Supplies: Cardboard tube, scissors, 5-8 wooden craft sticks, duct tape in various colours, variegated worsted weight yarn.
To make: Tape 5-8 wooden craft sticks around a cardboard tube as shown above. Cast on with a slip knot placed over first stick, then wrap yarn in a clockwise circle around each stick in sequence. To begin corking place yarn in front of first stick slightly above existing loop, hold taut, then slide lower loop up and over yarn, repeat across each stick.
Mini Balls of Yarn
Nurture your child’s inner Picasso allowing them free reign when it comes to their imagination. A great way to build dexterity in tiny hands, this framed project will help deplete your yarn stash while creating mini works of art.
Supplies: An assortment of colourful yarn, shadow box, scissors
To make: Tightly wind small balls of yarn in an array of colours, fill in a shadow box frame in a pleasing arrangement.
Finger knitting uses all five fingers of one hand to produce a long tubular piece, providing hours of entertainment and the final result can be worn as a cosy scarf.
Supplies: Chunky weight yarn, scissors.
To make: Watch video here
Once they get the hang of finger knitting, there are endless project ideas from bracelets to floor rugs, and for the young interior designer who can handle a needle and thread, this plain pillow can be creatively transformed with a favorite word or name.
Supplies: Multi-coloured yarn, sewing thread, needle, a pre-made pillow, scissors, fabric marker, pins.
To make: With a fabric marker lightly trace a word onto front of pillow. Pin knitted cord along outlined area, sew with a running stitch into position. Make four tassels for corners.
Older children who have grasped the basics of knitting may be ready for this bookmark project, small and portable, ideally suited to keep their hands busy on a long road trip, or to make as a gift for a new summer friend.
Supplies: Remnants of dk weight yarn in both a primary and neutral shade, scissors, darning needle, 3.50 mm knitting needles.
To make: Free Pattern on Ravelry.com
Ojo de Dios
Ojo de Dios or God’s Eyes have long been a childhood favorite, and especially popular at summer camps on arts and craft days. For centuries, young people in the mountains of New Mexico have made Ojos de Dios as part of their spiritual rituals.
Supplies: Wooden craft sticks or two twigs of similar length, yarn remnants, scissors.
To make: Begin by tying two sticks together at the central crossing point with a length of yarn, continue to wrap the yarn around each stick clockwise and tie on new yarn lengths as needed.
Kids will have a ball decorating a bedroom or treehouse with these brightly-coloured yarn balloons, so simple to make and the grown ups might just end up borrowing a few to dress up a backyard party.
Supplies: Fun colourful worsted weight yarn, a bowl, scissors, white craft glue, balloons, string for hanging.
To make: Begin by blowing up each balloon to a medium size, water down white glue and place in a bowl, slide brightly coloured yarn though the wet glue and wrap around balloon until densely covered. Hang to dry on a string overnight, and then pop each balloon.