Sewing with little kids can be tricky at time…scissors, needles, pins….not exactly “little kid-friendly.” But these spider softies are 80% kid-made using tape, markers and safety scissors as sewing supplies ~ a great way to let kids, even as young as preschool age, “sew” their own softie.
I love this project because it is really kid-made. They pick out, measure, cut, and place the legs. And then decorate and stuff the spiders. My kids were so proud that they made a whole spider, pretty much by themselves.
Now the point of the project is not to make something of lasting quality. Clearly, a project using tape instead of pins is not sewing “best practices.” The legs will eventually unravel, tape may be visible, and the opening is not precisely sewn. BUT this project really involve kids in the sewing and creating process and lets them experience turning a bunch of supplies into a 3d toy. The point here is to get kids excited about sewing!
- Fabric for body – about a fat quarter’s worth
- A selection of scraps of ribbon, trim, webbing for spider legs
- Circle template – I used a plastic tub with a 6 in. diameter
- Fiber fill
- Fabric markers and scrap cardstock or cardboard (Sharpies would probably work also, if you are so brave)
- Needle and thread (optional for hand-sewing the spider closed)
- Sewing Machine
Location and Time
Like most kid activities, prepping all the supplies before getting the kids involved worked best. It took me about a 1/2 hour to cut out fabric and find supplies.
Once the kids were involved, we worked on the softies for less than an hour. I found it easiest to set the kids up at a table in the kitchen where they could spread out their mess without getting stabbed by pins.
Adult skill level is low – only very basis sewing skills needed. There is only one seam in this project!
The great thing about sewing and creating with kids is that not only is it fun for them (hopefully for you too!) but they are learning also. In this project, in addition to being creative, kids are learning:
- To follow directions;
- Measurement – measuring and cutting trim for legs;
- Spatial skills – turning 2d supplies into a 3d item; and
- Fine motor skills – sewing a seam and/or taping down legs.
Fold your body fabric in half and trace a circle.
Cut out your circle through the two layers of fabric. You should have 2 body circles for your spider.
Lay out the circle bodies, selection of trim, a fabric marker, ruler and kid scissors and grab some kids to make spider softies. As soon as you do that, your nicely organized supplies will look something like this!
Have the kids measure, mark, and cut 8 pieces of trim for legs. My 6 year old really liked this part. She was able to do all the measuring and cutting on her own. My preschooler need a little help measuring his trim, but held his own with the cutting. I was surprised how well safety scissors cut through the trim!
After the legs are cut, have the kids place the legs on the right-side of one fabric circle. Then, show them how to flip the legs inwards and tape them down along the edge.My kindergartner got the idea and taped all her legs after I showed her how. My preschooler needed a bit of help with the flipping, but did all of the taping.
Tell the kids to practice making spider faces, while you run over to the sewing machine and sew the bodies. Or invite them along to see how it is done. You will be sewing a seam around the edge of the body, leaving an opening for stuffing. 5 min…10 min. tops.
At the sewing machine, place the other circle fabric right-side down on top of the piece with spider legs. Make sure you move any stray spider legs close to the fabric edge if necessary, like I need to do with the yellow rick-rack leg below! Sew a straight seam about 1/4 to 1/2 in away from the edge, leaving at least 3 inches for the kids to turn and stuff them.
Have the kids turn their spiders right-side out and remove the tape around the edges. Picking at tape is practically a pastime in my house, so this part was a hit. 🙂
Face time! Place a scrap of cardboard inside the spider so the markers don’t bleed through and let the kids go to town decorating their new friends.
Remove the cardboard and let the kids stuff the spiders with fiberfill.
Sew the spider closed. You can easily do this quickly on your machine. Or if you have a child who wants to “do it his/her-self” and won’t be injured with a needle, let them sew it closed. I was shocked at how well my kindergartner sewed her softie! 🙂
There you have it! Two finished spiders….
This project was a big hit at my house. Both of my kids really enjoyed making their own toy. They have been playing with their spiders for the last week. One is living in a laundry basket “cage” in my son’s room and the other is “on vacation” with baby dolls right now. 🙂