Handwork for Kindergarteners
updated April 10, 2016

Handwork simply means creating beautiful things for the purpose of developing fine or gross motor skills, coordination, motor planning, patience, etc. or which are truly needed and used in your home.

It is more of an intentional practice than "crafts" which can often be made only because they are "cute."

Wet Felting

Wet felting is great in the kindergarten; save needle felting until your child is much older. You can learn it, of course...

Tutorial: Felted Pebbles
blog post - The Magic Onions
A great project to start with. Then these become a play item or can go on the Nature table.

We wet felted soaps to give as Christmas presents one year: soap in a sweater!

Wet Felting Eggs
blog post - Switzerite
These would be so so sweet on the Nature table with little chicks coming out of them in the Spring!

Wet Felted Geodes
blog post - Switzerite
It would be pretty if you made these yourself and left them for your daughters to discover on a gnome path outside in the yard!

Earthways is a great resource for projects that would be appropriate for your daughter's age. I like that she labels them all with age recommendations. Carol Petrash was the kindergarten teacher at the Washington Waldorf School and I've met her. We were at one of Suzanne Down's puppet making workshops together.

Making dipped beeswax candles is always a favorite activity, but rolled ones are fine if you want to start there.

Beeswax Candle Rolling Kit

Gift making for birthdays or holidays is also part of Handwork. Decorate a pretty little jar and fill it with

    Old Fashioned Bubble Bath

    In a clean container, mix together cup mild liquid hand or body soap (we used Burt's Bees Outdoor All-In-One Wash), 1 tablespoon sugar or honey, and 1 egg white.

    Pour the entire mixture under the running water as you draw your bath. Honey is a natural humectant, which will attract and retain moisture in your skin. The egg white helps create stronger, longer-lasting bubbles, for a nice, fluffy bath. For extra-dry skin, consider adding a tablespoon of light oil, such as almond or light sesame.

    from Real Simple

Making wooden toys is a lovely family project and you can let your daughter use sandpaper and beeswax polish to make them beautiful! We use Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish and it's safe to eat if your 3 year old puts the toys in her mouth. A jar lasts a long time (and the sandpaper and beeswax polish will be used when you make knitting needles in first grade).

Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish

Teach your daughter how to finger knit. This is a great activity for children!!! I also suggest teaching her to braid.

Finger Knitting How-to
blog post - Flax & Twine

Handwork is one of those areas where the right supplies matter, and it can be an expensive start-up cost. But if you buy pure wool roving and pure wool felt you will NEVER regret it!

If you don't know how to knit, I recommend the traditional (and wonderful) Waldorf first/second grade knitting book:

A First Book of Knitting for Children
It is full of simple patterns for adorable knitted animals.

I think your handwork essentials are

  • Pure wool yarn
  • Pure wool felt -- I like the beautiful assortment Magic Cabin offers and I've only had to buy it twice in ten years. I've never regretted the cost, and I still have a ton of wool felt on hand. We use it all the time (birthday crowns, beanbags, finger puppets, little gnomes...). Magic Cabin and A Child's Dream Come True are where I do most of my shopping for school supplies.
  • Pure wool roving -- and, when you feel ready to needle felt, I can send you several felting needles. I have plenty extra. You'll only need a large sponge and a pack of pipe cleaners.
  • Large pieces of white silk -- if you want to dye your own Waldorf playsilks
  • You'll need fabric for doll skin and mohair for doll hair -- if you want to sew your own Waldorf dolls. There are plenty of places to find directions for this. I made the baby Moses doll for our Sunday School play one year, and it was so sweet... but it is very very time consuming.

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