Handwork for Homeschoolers
updated December 17, 2016

Handwork simply means creating beautiful things for the purpose of developing fine or gross motor skills, coordination, motor planning, patience, etc. or which are truly needed and used in your home.

It is more of an intentional practice than "crafts" which can often be made only because they are "cute."

By request, in 2016 I began to teach some Summer handwork classes to fellow homeschoolers. Lesson plans are in PDF form below.

Here is a lovely Natural Fibers chalkboard drawing - cotton, wool, flax/linen


Session One (PDF)

Pelle's New Suit

by Elsa Beskow
Session Two (PDF)

The Golden Egg Book

by Margaret Wise Brown
Session Three (PDF)

Red Berry Wool

by Robyn Eversole
Session Four (PDF)

Whose Garden Is It?

by Mary Ann Hoberman
Session Five (PDF)

Lester's Dreadful Sweaters

by K.G. Campbell
Session Six (PDF)

Extra Yarn

by Mac Barnett
Session Seven (PDF)

The Summerfolk

by Doris Burn
Session Eight (PDF)

When the Sky is Like Lace

by Elinor Lander Horowitz
Session Nine (PDF)

The Rainbow Goblins

by Ul de Rico
Session Ten (PDF)


by Leo Lionni
Session Eleven (PDF)

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed

by Karla Kuskin
Session Twelve

A Tree is Nice

by Janice May Udry

I'm now offering Creativity Workshops on the weekends during the school year. Book titles and activity notes are below:

Dyeing Play Silks

I like this project best for a rainy day, so your beautiful silks can just rinse themselves and drip dry outside. We use the stovetop method. Make sure you have a dedicated pot, a dedicated stirring utensil, and some dishwashing gloves. NOTE: I got my silks and dyes at Dharma Trading Company.

Waldorf Finger Puppets / Story Aprons
blog post - Switzerite
Details of the supplies I purchased

Dyeing Silks
blog post - Switzerite
Details of how to do the dyeing

Wet Felting

Wet felting is great in the kindergarten and early grades; save needle felting until your child is in middle school. You can learn it now, of course...

Tutorial: Felted Pebbles
blog post - The Magic Onions
A great project to start with. Then these become a play item or can go on the Nature table.

Felted soaps a.k.a soap in a sweater

Wet Felting Eggs
blog post - Switzerite
These would be so so sweet on the Nature table with little chicks coming out of them in the Spring! Or make bunnies and ducks to go along with Margaret Wise Brown's The Golden Egg Book.

Wet Felting Mice
blog post - Switzerite
To accompany The Story of Jumping Mouse by John Steptoe.

Wet Felted Geodes
blog post - Switzerite
It would be pretty if you made these yourself and left them for young children to discover on a gnome path outside in the yard!


spool knitting cast-off video by Noreen Crone-Findlay



How to Use an Embroidery Hoop as a Loom

Woven Finger-Knitting Hula Hoop Rug
blog post - Flax & Twine


Old-Fashioned Bubble Bath

Two-Ingredient Dog Treats

Kool-Aid Dyed Playdough

Garden Projects

How to Make a Butterfly Muddle

How to Make a Toad House

How to Grow an Ornamental Sweet Potato Plant

Growing Celery Indoors: Never Buy Celery Again

Needle Felting

This is most definitely for middle school and higher. Don't let the fact that your child really wants to learn cause you to give in. I've tried this with elementary school children more than once. When it's too hard for them, they're not successful and it is just not fun. I've always regretted opening that door.

WoolPets kits (see some of the options above) are probably the simplest place to start, but I think the very best book is

Making Magical Fairy-tale Puppets

by Cristel Dhom

It includes instructions for many animals as well as people. Complete fairy tale setups are included, and adorable mobiles for the nursery.


Handwork is one of those areas where the right supplies matter, and it can be an expensive start-up cost. But if you buy pure wool roving and pure wool felt you will NEVER regret it!

If you don't know how to knit, I recommend the traditional (and wonderful) Waldorf first/second grade knitting book:

A First Book of Knitting for Children
It is full of simple patterns for adorable knitted animals.

Magic Cabin and A Child's Dream Come True are where I do most of my shopping for school supplies. I think your handwork essentials are

  • Pure wool and 100% cotton yarn in lots of colors. You'll use it constantly. I especially like Lion Brand Alpine Wool Yarn in Vanilla for the first knitted stuffed animal, the lamb.
  • Pure wool felt -- I like the beautiful assortment Magic Cabin offers and I've only had to buy it twice in ten years. I've never regretted the cost, and I still have a ton of wool felt on hand. We use it all the time (birthday crowns, beanbags, finger puppets, little gnomes...).
  • Pure wool roving dyed in colors -- try the NZ Corriedale Wool Roving -- 44 Colors in Box assortment from Weir Crafts OR the less expensive but coarser wool roving assortments from Paper Scissors Stone ($12.50 for 16 colors)
  • And white wool stuffing for those sweet stuffed animals, as well as little sachets, the inside of your needle felting projects, gnomes, etc.
  • And, when you feel ready to needle felt, get several felting needles, a large sponge, and a pack of pipe cleaners.
  • Large pieces of white silk and iDye for natural fibers -- if you want to dye your own Waldorf playsilks.
  • You'll need fabric for doll skin and mohair for doll hair -- if you want to sew your own Waldorf dolls. There are plenty of places to find directions for this. I made the baby Moses doll for our Sunday School play one year, and it was so sweet... but it is very very time consuming.
  • Beeswax candle rolling kits ... or beeswax pellets and wick for dipped or poured candles.
  • Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish and sandpaper, if you are making your own wooden toys.

    Have fun! Feel free to email me with any questions.

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