Basket weaving is a fascinating traditional craft that has been widely practised all over the world for millennia. It can also provide a great model for an approachable craft project for kids--whether helping them learn about a variety of traditional basket-weaving crafting cultures, or as a means of helping them explore colour, texture and shape.
The beginning of any basket weaving craft project is the creation of a woven material. In actual basket weaving, this weaving process would contribute to the structural integrity of the finished basket. However, children can learn the principle of weaving with paper, and then attach their woven design to a sturdier substrate to create a functional basket.
Creating a Woven Pattern for Baskets
To create a woven paper basket covering, cut pieces of construction paper into 1-inch-wide strips. Demonstrate to the children how the strips can be arrayed in rows on a table, and then interwoven with vertical columns of paper. Encourage children to choose colours for symbolic meaning, based upon the application for the finished basket. Secure the edges of the woven material pattern with tape. This woven material can then be attached to a variety of basket types, depending on the time of year or the occasion.
Create your own Easter basket with the kids this year, and add an extra dimension to the usual plastic grass and jelly bean routine. Begin with an empty, well-rinsed and dried cardboard orange juice or milk container. Cut away one entire panel of the container (on the side containing the spout). Wrap the open basket in a paper weave, as described above. Finish with a handle, made with a strip cut from the excised panel. Attach paper bunny ears with more panel material or construction material, or decorate with markers or stickers.
Halloween is another traditional holiday associated with baskets and candy, and one that can be made more special with a basket-weaving craft project. Begin with a clean lightweight bucket, such as a sand toy bucket. Wrap the bucket in a woven basket pattern, as described above, and secure with tape. Wrap the bucket handle in coloured tape. Finish the bucket with some cotton strands stretched around the bucket to serve as cobwebs.
Purim, the traditional Jewish festival holiday, also involves eating sweets: in this case, traditional Hamantashen triangular cookies. You can make a paper Purim basket to hold Hamantashen cookies or other goodies with a paper plate, construction paper and a stapler. Have children create a basket weave pattern, as described above. Glue or tape the pattern to the back of a paper plate, and fold the paper plate upwards in three places to form a three-cornered basket. Secure the three corners with staples. Finish the basket with a construction-paper handle.