Been some slim pickings lately with my dollar day shopping trips. Either that, or I have some sort of brain block when it comes to being creative in the up-cyling department. They can’t all be gems of course, everyone has their off days now and then. I try to make my dollar day remakes sort of like a game. Mostly dollar day items are clothes but occasional I run across something for the home.
On this occasion it was an old coat/blazer that I found for a dollar. I thought I could use it for some of my little critters I like to make. With Valentines Day just around the corner, all things pink and red are in season for the month of love.
Once home and in my favorite little creative space (my craft closet), I got out my pencil and paper and started drawing out some easy and quick shapes to sew together.
Looking over my dollar day project, I decided to make this one a bean bag. I am using plastic pellets but beans or rice work too.I couldn’t wait to start sewing something up.
Bean bags have a lot of history in our home and they were always made available to my children when they were little. I would make all shapes, sizes and colors. I displayed them in baskets, on soft rugs, or piled them in giant bean bag chairs.
I used sand, beans, rice and even gun pellets for extra weight. Bean bags are great for Proprioceptive sensory input games. I remember the first time I heard that word and gave the therapist who said it, one of my “What the heck are you talking about” looks, and I got a very long and complicated explanation.
It means sensations of body movements and awareness of posture,enabling the body to orient itself in space without visual clues. That there is the actual definition.Some kids that are clumsy (and I am using this word lovingly, clumsy is cute in my book, so please take no offense…I’m clumsy people.) or have some poor gross and fine motor skills, just need a little help in this area. Bean bags are a great tool to help with that.
Therapy toys can put you into huge dept if you are not careful. Or you can do what our great grandparents did and let the kids help guide you to what they want by choosing the items they want to play with.
Kids need to play in order to learn. I worry about some of the curriculum that our schools keep pushing in order to make their test scores somewhat impressive. It might ruffle some feathers me writing this, but as a parent who had two children in a public school system for some of their childhood, I can write that our schools are a mess. They don’t seem to be getting better. Kids are starving for some good old fashioned imaginary and creative play. It’s great exercise for our brain. Does no one listen to Einstein anymore?.
Alright, back on task…sometimes I rant a little. My old coat/blazer was going to become lady bug bean bags. I could also design a soft felt leaf pillow to toss the bugs onto for added fun but for now I was going to concentrate on sewing up bugs.
After drawing out the pattern, I traced and cut out my shapes.
Then I decorated them before sewing them up. I love this part so much that I just jumped right into it.
Pulling out all my little embellishments, I couldn’t wait to get started. You can save this part for after you sew your pieces together. Sometimes I get so impatient when it comes to decorating. It works out okay either way.
After I decorated them I sewed them inside out, then turned then right side out to stuff. Remember these are bean bags, so they will be stuffed with plastic pellets. I used a tight back stitch to sew them up with. I prefer to sew by hand, this way I can take my sewing anywhere, even out in the middle of the woods when we are up north at Our Little Red House. You can use cotton stuffing if you rather have little soft stuffed bugs.
I added felt dots, buttons, beads and some safety eyes that locked in place but I glued mine in place. I wasn’t giving these bugs to kids under 3 years old.
I painted tiny leaves and flowers using puffy paints. Because I was pressed for time, I ended up gluing a lot of my embellishments in place. I used tacky glue to save some time but I really prefer to sew.
I tend to go a little over board in some of my creations. It is so much fun, just doing what you want and seeing what comes out in the end. In this case, I have some really busy looking Lady Bugs. Maybe I added a tad too much, but hey, it was fun and that’s all that matters in the end.
If you want to keep things a little more muted down, then just add little black dots and beads for eyes and that’s it. These are not toys for the tiny tots. Buttons and small items are a chocking hazard…but you guys already know that.
For extra weight you can add BB pellets. My bugs were only about six inches long but if you have enough fabric you can also make a weighted pillow to snuggle with.
Bean bags help with:
Hand and eye coordination
Visual motor skills
Gross motor skills
Fine motor skills
Attention and focus
All these skills are helpful in teaching your children reading and writing, less fidgeting at a desk, listening skills, posture, problem solving and all kinds of other benefits as well. This is why it’s so important for kids to get out and play or to be creative. It all has a purpose in the end. Happy playing and creating everyone. Remember to try to include everyone when creating something, all ages and all levels.
More tips on this craft:
For the younger ones who may want to be included with a task that might be too advanced for them, you can use butcher paper to stuff. Just have them draw out two basic bug shapes, color or paint designs on it, then stable all around it leaving a space to stuff tissues in, then staple to close. Large stuffed butterflies, bugs, fish, whatever their imagination creates would look so pretty hanging from ceilings in their rooms.
Instead of hunting for eggs like we do here in America, hunt for bugs in your gardens. After making your little bugs, hide them in flower pots, or trees outside to get your kids outside to play and create.Happy up-cycling everyone.