It’s difficult to tell what’s going to inspire kids to want to start sewing. Is it a fancy machine with lots of functions, built-in stitches and a computer screen? Is it a project idea he/she wants to make? Is it a particular fabric? Is it a feeling of nostalgia or way to connect with relatives through a tradition of some sort? It depends on the kid and depends on the age, but is likely a combination of some of those things.
For Christmas (or Hanukkah or whatever gift-giving holiday you celebrate), kids typically want what they see–what’s on TV, what their friends have–not what we might want them to have. Most parents want educational items for their kids (they have enough toys they have to trip over in any given day); i.e., books, board games, activities that make them think. But kids usually want toys, candy, puppies! So how can everyone win, and how can we offer up presents that suggest or encourage a love of sewing without being overt and pushy?
There are a lot of cool “toys” on the market that are educational AND fun. And if parents help (or play too), they can make suggestions or correlations to sewing (or woodworking, or knitting or any other craft), that kids can understand to spark interest in a rewarding and life-long hobby.
Here are 10 gift ideas for kids that are easily used as teaching tools to nudge kids into having a love of sewing:
1. Sewing Kit Cookie Cutters, shopsewitall.com
I’m not suggesting you buy your kids cookie cutters; rather buy them for yourself and make some sewing-themed sugar cookies for Santa! The kids will love decorating these cookies with all kinds of sprinkles and frosting.
2. Lego Sewing Machine
You can download free instructions for making this sewing machine here. Why not package all the Legos you need for it along with the instructions and create your own gift package for a Lego-lover in your life?
3. Creativity for Kids Designed by You Fashion Studio, Amazon.com
This gift gets kids into designing their own fashions on a small scale. After working through some of the exercises in this kit, bring out a Barbie or other small-scale doll, some fabric scraps, and introduce the sewing machine to make one of his/her looks come to life.
4. Piper Computer Kit, buildpiper.com
This kit is full of all the tools and materials you need to create your own computer. Kids as young as 7 will be able to navigate through the instructions, with adult supervision, and learn the fundamentals of electronics. Once they’ve mastered this, there is no sewing machine they won’t be able to navigate.
5. Fractles-7, Fat Brain Toys
This magnetic tiling toy is a great intro to quilting and creating quilt patterns. Have the kids produce a cool pattern, and then work with them to fabricate it into a small lap quilt.
6. 100-Piece Clear Multi Color Magnetic Tile Set, Best Choice Products
Another great intro to quilt patterns, this magnet set will also teach the importance of constructing blocks with right sides together to create concealed seams. The magnets flip all ways easily, so the stitching order and arrangement is easily changed.
7. Crayola Magic Scene Creator, Crayola
Kids can use this like a tablet to draw their sewing creations. It’s easily erasable and comes with stickers to add to their scene for even more fun.
8. Portable Light Tracing Table, HearthSong
Not only can kids trace fashion croquis to create their own looks, but they can also use this with any coloring page, online template, pattern piece or the like. If they get super into the fashion illustrating, gift them this video to expand their skills.
9. LilyPad Sewable Electronics Kit, SparkFun
10. Rogue Making Delux Wearable Tech Kit, Rogue Making
This kit comes in a tidy little package and contains everything you need to add LED embellishment to a garment. Put lights into an ugly Christmas sweater, pair of socks or scarf. It’s an intriguing way to get kids thinking about sewing and what more they can do.
Let us know if you’ve tried any of these “toys” or are gifting them this holiday season!