Keeping it simple
At this time of the year the world goes just a little bonkers.
Today I had to visit a mega shopping centre. The thronging crowd combined with the schmaltzy music and plasticky Christmas décor left me needing a good lie down! Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas and so many of the wonderful things that this season brings, but I find the commercial side of pretty overwhelming.
And I often think that if I, a grown up, find it overwhelming, its possibly even more so for our sensitive little people. ‘Tis the season for sensory overload! As I watched frazzled families queue for an overpriced photo with an overheated Santa, I wished for a simpler way to celebrate.
Now, bah humbug… I’m no Grinch! I certainly don’t want to turn my back on Xmas activities, but I do find myself drawn to the ones that avoid tinsel, glitter and plastic.
We recently used some simple felt shapes to make sweet little Christmas trees for the children at our playgroup. They are re-usable, were super simple to make and peaceful to use. It seemed to be an idea worth sharing - so here it is:
Grab a few sheets of felt from a craft store. They’re widely available and usually cheap, between 50c to $2.00 each. Grab a main colour (green if you’d like to make a traditional tree) and a few contrasting colours.
Cut angles from the long sides of one sheet to make the biggest triangle you can. That’s your tree, folks!
Cut the other sheets into strips, then cut these strips into smaller shapes (as an art teacher I go completely twitchy when I see people cut shapes from the middle of a sheet – thus the strips first!). These are for your decorations.
Cut those strips into some shapes - start with squares, they’re easy peasy. Slice some squares into half to make triangles. Circles are trickier to cut, but if you rotate the felt (and not your scissors) you’ll get the hang of it. Once you do you might like to get a bit fancy with stars or zig-zagging strips, but relax, as children will enjoy making their own shapes and combinations with what they have.
There you have it - NO GLUE, NO GLITTER. You have a set of re-usable felties. It’s time to hand the whole bang lot over to your small folk.
Felt is a really nice material for kids to play with. Its unique texture lets layers attach themselves to each other and stay fixed until they are lifted and moved. Felt is a sensory material that invites touching, feeling and manipulating. Don’t just save it for Christmas. Use your felt stash to make shapes for playing with at any time. As a kid i loved absolutely playing with felties, and I really hope your children enjoy it too.