We’re spending some extended time at my mom and dad’s house this summer and I’ve been cataloguing sweet crafts and activities to keep the kids happily engaged and independent in the backyard and at the beach. In moments when whining or boredom sets in, it’s nice to have a few simple crafts at the ready and I’ll be sharing a few favorites over the course of the summer.
If your kids lack the attention span or fine motor skills needed for a friendship bracelet, let me suggest a bit of nature weaving instead. I pinned the idea months ago and traced this particular tutorial back to Rowdy Rascal Kids, who tackled the project last August at the tail end of Australian winter. We decided to pluck our botanical specimens from the bits of flowers and weeds sprouting up in my parents’ yard this time of year.
Goes without saying, the adults in this house enjoyed the activity as much as the children and it provided the perfect opportunity to flex our plant identification skills.
+ String, yarn, jute, &c.
+ Grasses, flowers, twigs, anything
To create the cardboard loom:
1. Using a sharp blade or scissors, cut a rectangle of cardboard in your desired size. We experimented with a few different sizes, but 5″ x 7″ is a nice place to start.
2. Along one long side of the rectangle, cut a series of ~1/4-inch notches, roughly 1/2-inch apart from one another. Repeat on the opposite long side.
3. Tuck one end of your string into one notch and draw the string around the cardboard, tucking the string into the opposite notch. Wrap the string around the back and tuck it into the next available notch. Continue working until all the notches are filled.
1. Gather a bundle of botanicals—small flowers, tiny twigs, grasses, etc.
2. Starting at one side of the loom, weave your botanicals over and under the string until the loom is filled! Reminder: There’s no wrong way to do this, but with any luck you’ll have a meditative moment while the littlest among you can practice their fine motor skills.
A nature weaving made from materials found in your average New England backyard in the summertime will be ephemeral indeed. (It’s the process more than anything that’s captivating here.) But if you want to make a weaving that wilts less quickly, feel free to choose to use any manner of flowers or twigs or grasses that might dry nicely.
I especially love the idea of making a new weaving in each new month, noticing what’s available for the plucking and what’s disappeared with the passing of time.