Preschool children love to participate in arts and crafts activities that permit creative opportunities and the manipulation of materials. However, fine motor skills vary among preschoolers, whose small hands struggle to complete detailed movements. Young children can use weaving materials that are large enough to be guided into a weaving base that is sturdy enough to forgive mistakes. Introduce art weaving activities that your preschoolers can complete creatively and share with pride.
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Chicken Wire Weaving Activity
Chicken wire can be used to complete a large class project outdoors, or to complete smaller individual projects indoors. To prepare for the outdoor project, tack a length of chicken wire to a fence or outdoor structure with staples. Apply duct tape to all the raw edges to prevent scratches. Provide a wide assortment of weaving materials, and encourage the children to use their imaginations. Weaving materials can include yarns, feathers, straw, ribbons, rope and fabric strips. To prepare for an indoor project, cut the chicken wire into squares or rectangles. Cover all the edges with duct tape. Provide each child with chicken wire and weaving materials. The squares or rectangles can be displayed together on a wall to form a "quilt."
Paper Lantern Craft
Prepare the paper base by folding a piece of construction paper in half lengthwise. Cut the paper into strips from the folded side without cutting through to the other edge of the paper. Unfold the paper. Provide crepe-paper streamers or paper strips for the children. Show the children how to weave the strips or streamers into the paper base until the base is filled. Trim the ends, and tape or glue them to the paper base. Form the lantern by joining the short ends. Make a handle with a paper strip or pipe cleaner, and attach it with tape.
Woven Paper Place Mat
Preschool children will love completing a weaving project with brightly coloured construction paper. Let the children select the coloured construction paper, and show them how to cut the paper into horizontal strips. Cut vertical slits into another piece of construction paper, leaving an inch uncut at either end of the paper. Demonstrate how to weave the horizontal strips over and under the vertical slits. Gently slide each woven strip toward the top of the paper. Other options for the activity include mounting the completed project to a larger piece of coloured paper or cutting the project into a desired shape.
Paper Basket Activity
Let the children complete a simple weaving task that uses a template. Print out the basket template on DLTK's Growing Together website (see Resources section), and cut out the pieces. Provide openings to insert the weaving materials by cutting on the dotted lines of the largest template piece. The children can help to cut six construction paper strips that match the size of the bottom template piece. Show the children how to weave the paper strips and then glue the strips to secure them. Let the children fold the baskets on the solid lines. Glue or tape the small grey tabs to assemble the basket.
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