Woolen Water Play

Aria missed a couple days of school this week due to a minor cold that triggered her asthma. She didn’t feel horrible, just sounded it, but activity and cold air typically make the coughing worse so we stayed inside playing quietly. Well. As quietly as is possible for a very active preschooler.

It seems we’ve been inside a lot lately, so I’ve been scouring books and the Internet looking for some new indoor activity ideas. This week, I’ve fallen in love all over again with Amanda Blake Soule’s The Creative Family. (I just adore Soule’s books – and blog – and aspire to be just half as creative and inventive and productive as she is with her kids.) Flipping through the pages one evening I came to the “Felting with Children” section and suddenly remembered a small stash of wool roving I bought forever ago for some forgotten project. I told Aria I had a special project for her and showed her the brightly colored balls of roving we’d be using. She turned them over in her hands, oohing and ahhing, and went to bed excited for the next day’s activity. She’d been very disappointed to miss school so I was thrilled to distract and cheer her up.

Tuesday morning arrived with Aria eager to get started and hardly able to stand waiting for Ani to go down for her nap (thereby allowing this mama to devote the hands and attention to this wet activity that would surely be necessary). As soon as the babe was asleep, I set Aria up with a couple bowls of hot soapy water and small pieces of an eggplant-colored wool roving. Together we rolled and rubbed and soaped the wool to create our first felted beads. Aria, whose teacher recently told me that her favorite part of the day is washing dishes, loved playing in the water. She liked the felting too, but it was definitely secondary to the thrill of the water. More fun was moving the wool through the suds or dropping it into the bowl from a great height, watching the resulting droplets splash around the bowl. (Amazingly, we only had one major spill; Soule’s advice to place the bowls of water on cookie sheets is crucial to containing the mess.) She also liked molding the felt, rather than rolling it into a ball, and created clouds and lemons (which she loves to eat) with her pieces.

I had almost as much fun as she did, thrilled with the feel of the wool in my hands and the freedom to play with the way different colors and sizes of roving created different designs on the beads. The hot, sudsy water was also especially pleasant on a cold, dreary January day. We’ll definitely be doing this one again soon.

Beads with Big A in the background

Wool felted beads dryingI can’t wait to see how these look once dry.

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