Welcome to A Tranquil Nook Blog

We welcome you to follow along on our crafty adventures. Frank is a farmer by day, jewelry and hand braided cord-maker by night. Jane simply fiddles with fabric and fiber any time she can. We share things about what we make, how we make it, where you can get it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

More than making Puppets.....

The value of inter-generational crafting is far deeper than creating stuff.  Shared time working together develops a unique bond, an insight into how the other thinks and does things.  As two work together to make one item each becomes acquainted with  the other’s approach to a problem, the way they use their hands, eyes, and mind to solve a challenge.  What inspires them to keep working, what discourages them. 

The challenge for the adult is to facilitate rather than teach, to read the child’s interest, skill and need levels.  The adult is modeling, the child is absorbing words, movements, approaches to problems.  It is less about teaching steps to make a thing, it is more about discovery and working together to “make it work” and create the “thing” together.

For the adult it is being open to readiness in the child.  Yesterday, Dacia, a friend who owns and runs a Waldorf Inspired Child Care Center and I got together at her child care center for me to show her techniques in making puppets.  Her 5 yo came along.  We thought the 5yo would play with the familiar preschool toys and revel in having the toys all to herself.

No! The child pulled a tall chair up to our work table, climbed up so she could survey the work area and stated “When do we start sewing.”  She was offered several projects: a stitching block, a lacing project, a weaving project.  Something to keep her occupied and allow her to stay at the table with us as we focused on our intended path.

from Blueberry Forest
 Dacia showed me the stitching block, telling me how it works and demonstrating it.  She set it down, we moved on to discussing what she wanted to focus on making.  Plus  I asked her to share more about her approach to child care at Apple Blossom, how she envisioned using the puppets with the the children and more about the Waldorf philosophy and to help me understand what she, other teachers and parents need to promote family crafting. 

We lined things up, Dacia asked for suggestions on how improve a puppet she had make last summer.  While she began working, I set out supplies to make two more puppet heads & began making one.  During that time the child had picked up the stitching block, stitched it up and then undid the stitching.  Exactly what Dacia had explained to me about how it worked.  And by doing it, proved her interest in sewing and readiness to work at it. 

When invited to help make the puppet heads while her mom continued repairs, she quickly got down from her perch and pulled up a chair next to me.  While she does not have the hand skill and strength to fully complete a head all by herself, she could do some wrapping and mimic the steps I did. 

Working together on the two heads at once, began.  Passing the heads back and forth. Never undoing her efforts, simply tightening the ball by wrapping my layer tighter and giving her a smaller batt length.  Once we had two core balls, we worked together, all 4 hands smoothing and shaping to pull a coating layer over the core and tie it off.  Then she held, I tied.  Same with the fabric covering. 

As we all worked, Dacia shared concepts about Waldorf Dolls in general, what dolls are used by the children, which are used by adults for storytelling, etc.  The interplay of modeling, learning about Mother nature, respect, etc.  The young one adding details to the unfolding story.  Age 5.5 years, 40 something and 65years, we enjoyed shared experience and conversation.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Great post about creating with children! It is so fun to work with kids rather than trying to always distract them into doing something else. I also think it is good to help them do things well but give them freedom to make some of their own decisions and make their art theirs. I have been completely flabbergasted at times when I observe people that have a crafting time set up specifically for kids but insist that the kids do the simple craft exactly like they did theirs. Why? I guess I just don't understand that mind set at all.

    1. Thanks so much Abbi. Seems we see the "way" of crafting with children similarly. It is indeed a joy to see them take a different direction, find a way to make the task work for them.

  2. Beautifully written Jane, sounds like you all three had a great time.

    1. Oh Heather, we did indeed have a grand time. Thanks so much for stopping by today.