Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{kid craft} Pompom critters - and a word about making pompoms

Big brother actually asks to do crafts now. You know, even if I never get anything blog worthy out of our weekly sessions again, it's been worth it already.

And I was pretty close to not getting anything blog worthy out of it this week.

You see, we were going to use homemade pompoms for this.

Turns out my memory of making pompoms as a kid was a little bit, uhm, foggy. I looked up tutorials before, mind you, and learned all about the perfect ratio of the inner and outer circle when making templates.

But I had completely forgotten how much time these things take. What was I thinking?

Exactly how was my not-even-three year old supposed to get the yarn pulled through and tight and repeat that a zillion times?


I hadn't thought about that before. In my mind this was perfect and we were all making pompoms, the kids could decorate theirs while I made some more to use for their lion costume I'm supposed to make for Carnival next this month (really, it's February already?).


Let's get back to reality and start with the critters we did end up making, shall we?

We used ready-made and very brightly colored pompoms, smaller pompoms, different colors felt (scraps are perfect here and I had plenty from making my felt flower brooches), bright pipe cleaners and of course, since my kids love them, goggly eyes.

Big brother got really serious and wanted to do a lion. Here he's cutting the ears, all by himself.

I helped a tiny bit with the wool mane, but he did everything else all by himself. I'm really proud of him.

Little brother didn't want a lion. "I want a dog, mommy! A yellow dog!" He helped me glue things on and pick out colors. Although I took some creative liberty here, because if it were for him, we'd had yellow dog with yellow nose, all-yellow ears and a yellow tongue. Ahhh, the wonders of toddler obsessions... He had also very precise ideas about how the ears should be. Originally I glued them down. He protested: "Mommy, I don't want flappy ears, I want real pointy ears like Lenny has!" That's my in-laws dog, and he loves her. So we redid the ears until he was pleased. We also added a tail, but skipped the feet.

Then big brother also made a monster. I love doing monsters because there is no right or wrong way with them and nobody can tell you to use a different nose (or glue on pointy ears).

Oh, and for those of you who are craftier / have older kids / remember doing them, here's our take on making pompoms, which could also be titled "An Exercise in Patience".

So, get some cardboard and draw to circles with a ratio of 3:1, meaning your outer circle should about be three times the size as you inner one. The larger the inner circle, the fluffier the pompom will be, but it'll also take way more time to complete it. Repeat with a second piece of cardboard.

Put the two pieces together and just start wrapping yarn around it. At first it makes sense to use to strings of yarn at once. Then use a new piece (or two), until you can't see the center opening anymore.

Big brother tried. He really did. He kept at it for quite some time, too. I got more frustrated with the whole process than he did. Man, do I need to lighten up.

Eventually it'll look like this. You still need to keep going. Actually, this is a nice activity for in front of the TV. When the kids are in bed.

When you're all done (use a pencil or chopstick to help you push through the last bits), use your scissors to cut the yarn in between the cardboard discs. Then (and this is important), tie a piece of yarn around the pompom, in between the cardboard discs, pulling it all together and tying it really well.

Pull the cardboard off (some say to cut it but I didn't need to) and you've got yourself a nice pompom. At our house, that had to be a yellow one.

I helped big brother with the last pieces and then finished his off, too. And even though his looked quite funny when he was wrapping it, it turned out perfectly fine. If there are any pieces sticking out, you can just give it a little haircut.

The boys kept their for running around the house with, so I have to do some more for lion tail tips. Oh well. I put the discs and yarn next to the TV.

As for next week, I promise I'll pick something toddler friendly so little brother can get his hands dirty, too.

Any suggestions on how to better judge skill levels required for crafts? Please do share in the comments.

Happy crafting,

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