Teddy Bear Party!

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My elementary after school sewing class has been packed all year long with creative, talented kids in Kindergarten - 5th grade. It's so cool to see them learn this fun new skill and get the chance to let their creativity sparkle in each new project we do! This session we made felt needle books (you can see some in the picture) to hold their needles and pins, and the past 5 weeks we have been working on a BIG project from start to finish....Teddy Bears! (and accessories!) The students started by cutting out a paper template, used that to cut two pieces of fabric and decorated the front and back pieces of their bears with buttons, pockets, eyes, smiles, clothes and other fun stuff. Then they paired the front sides of the fabric together, did a running stitch almost all the way around, flipped it inside out, stuffed it and sewed the top together! It was a complicated project for a beginners sewing class and they did fabulously! After finishing the bears they got to make sleeping bags or blankets and some even made a pillow, using the same inside out/stuffing skills!

They have taught me a lot about letting go as a teacher. At the beginning of my sewing classes I wanted to "help" them get their stitches right and projects completed but I've relaxed my expectations for this to be Pinterest-worthy.  The most rewarding part of my ninja-death-grip-loosening has been experiencing the pride and joy and gigantic smiles each child has as they complete a project ALL ON THEIR OWN! Wow. It's the best feeling to see a child treasure their sweet little bear with perfectly mismatched eyes and wonky appendages that they created. Amazing.

As a mom, this is a huge lesson for me. Let them do it all by themselves and it will come out great in the end because THEY did it and are learning to love a new activity. Make a gigantic mess and let the kids choose all their own fabrics, decorations, places to sit, and bring in a huge bag of stuffing and have at it. I had 1st graders showing 5th graders how to stitch and tie off a thread - where else do younger kids get that opportunity to help teach too?! It's the best!!

One of my younger boys in the class is always the last one to leave because he doesn't want to stop....today I saw him sewing his project while he walked all the way to the car with his dad. So cool!! I've been hearing stories from the parents of how the kids are sewing stuff at home, mending clothes and pillows, creating new things and getting super creative. This makes me the happiest kids sewing teacher on Earth!!

I love being able to bring fun skills like this to kids and help give them ways to be artistic, creative, and express themselves through things they can make!

Check out the beautiful and unique bears the kids made!  I'm so proud of them!