31. Needlework

Don’t be afraid of needles! There are plenty of thick, safe needles, in metal and plastic, designed especially for young children to use. It is far better to encourage safe and confident use of needles, than to steer away from them. Whether sewing, crocheting or knitting, the benefits of fostering an early interest in needlework are many. This close and meticulous work develops focus and concentration. It also encourages fine-motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and independent play. It requires children to follow a process and to call upon counting, pattern-making and other maths skills. It also builds self-esteem, as children see their work come to life.

For an easy introduction to needlework, stock up on binca, coloured string and thick or plastic needles. Get your child to draw their own design on the binca before they sew over it, or challenge them to create patterns with their favourite colours. Rainbows are a simple and colourful motif to kick-start a passion for sewing. Pre-made needlework kits give lovely results, but are the equivalent of painting by numbers when it comes to creativity.

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