Exploring patterns with fabric scraps and loose parts is one of those simple activities that can easily captivate children.
Let me show you how you can get started in no time with everyday objects from around your home.
Exploring Patterns with Fabric Scraps and Loose Parts
What you need for this activity is fabric, scissors and random loose parts.
Since I have an Etsy shop in which I sell handmade toys that encourage creative play, I have heaps and heaps of fabric scraps. I am a bit of a fabric collector and have a whole stash of pretty fabrics awaiting the right project.
If you don’t have fabric scraps lying around, you can use old clothes, tea towels, pillow cases and so on. Or you could have fun and go and buy a few fat quarters of fabric. The range of available (and affordable) fabrics in New Zealand is limited, so I’m very jealous of all of you living in the US or Europe, where I know you’ll be spoilt for choice!
The thing to look out for in fabric suited for this activity is interesting patterns. Something that you think will catch your child’s attention or imagination. (I was desperate to find a pretty rainbow patterned piece of fabric for my daughter but have had no luck so far!)
Then all you need to do is cut your fabric.
At this stage you could choose to sew around the edges and even put some backing onto your patterned fabric. If you vaguely know how to sew, this is an easy and quick thing to do.
Alternatively you can use pinking shears, which are fabric scissors with a zigzag (or rounded) pattern, so your fabric doesn’t fray like when you’d cut it with regular fabric scissors.
I can highly recommend getting yourself some zigzag pinking shears. I use them all the time for simple projects like crowns, capes or cutting little pieces of fabric to use in the play kitchen or small worlds. Here’s a link
(affiliate) in case you’d like to check them out.
Once you have your fabric play mats, it’s time to get out the loose parts.
If you’re already cranking out the buttons, straws, gems, rubber bands and seashells: go ahead and dive right in!
Encouraging Creative Play
This activity that was originally created for exploring patterns can be used in so many ways. It all depends on where your children are at, what they are interested in or what you would like to work on with them.
You could easily turn this activity in an educational one, exploring maths, colours, geometric shapes and so on. Activities like these offer an excellent opportunity to encourage language development and fine motor skills.
You could also leave your children to it, and they’ll probably start using the play mats as dolly blankets at some stage – and that’s ok!
I’m a huge fan of open ended play, so I usually set up an invitation to play (it’s fun to switch things up a bit and think outside of the box with patterned play mats and loose parts) and then see where it takes them. Some days they’ll be exploring by themselves, other days my first grader will want to practice letters or numbers and occasionally I’ll find loose parts and little play mats in the most unexpected places!
I hope this leaves you with plenty of ideas to play and have fun exploring patterns with your children at home.
It’s the simple materials that often go a long way in creating interesting set ups for children to investigate. Feel free to share your ideas and creations in the comments below or on the facebook page. I know for a fact that others would love to see!
Thanks for your time today and talk soon,
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