When my son was about 5 years old we began to teach him how to weave with a loom the main reasons why we did this were to help him develop his fine motor skills and his hand eye co-ordination. The loom we used was just like this Harrisville Designs Pegloom.
I am a special needs teacher and I have used many toys with children of all ages to develop all sorts of educational skills. Weaving is an activity that any young child will benefit from and they do not need to have any kind of special need.
The earlier children start to develop skills like fine motor and hand eye coordination the better. But giving them writing equipment too early is, in my opinion, a waste of time and can actually be counter productive. What very young children really need is practice at carefully manipulating objects from left to right in an ordered and repetitive way. So activities such as knitting and using peglooms are perfect.
This is a craft for kids that uses particular actions. When you weave in and out with the pegloom your hands thread the wool from side to side, just as a pen does when you write, and your eyes do when reading. Very simply put, it is that movement that develops hand eye co-ordination that will in time help with fluidity.
This is a small pegloom, which means that young children can hold it in their hands more easily and really experience the movement fully.
At first, my son could only manage one or two lines at a time. He could only focus for a few minutes, and he made many mistakes, weaving in instead of out, to the left instead of the right. It was quite a challenge to master. We persevered and in the end he was making little woven presents for his grandma.
More Benefits of the Pegloom
My son’s school uses looms for their younger classes in handwork and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the children weaving.
Here are a few reasons why weaving is such a wonderful activity for young children:
- It is fun and sociable. It is a very good idea to get young children away from screens and technology as much as possible and getting them involved in arts and crafts will make this easier to manage.
- It is good to give children the opportunity to create something that is beautifully handmade with a natural fiber like wool. The more contact young children have with natural things like wood, shells, wool etc the better. If possible avoid plastics and primary colors (yes that’s true!)
- It is a very good activity for children of any age because it is something they can sit and peacefully do without rushing. It is a lovely relaxing activity.
- If they make a mistake, it takes a few minutes to undo it and put it right, it’s not a problem, it’s just a mistake, and soon children learn that we learn from our mistakes – this will help them a great deal at school. Regretfully too many of our children are embarrassed or become discouraged by the mistakes they have to make!
Be warned that at first children find weaving quite a challenge, but because the weaving grows quickly they get satisfaction without too much frustration. I simply fixed the errors my son made. I always work on developing his self-esteem, so I often changed things after he had worked on it, when he wasn’t looking – especially when it just turned into a big knot!!! This helped to keep his enthusiasm up – if I’d left it a big mess – he would have not seen the beauty of the handwork.
Like all crafts (and other things in life) practice makes perfect. I always pointed out the progress he was making, and showed him when he went wrong, and that it could be put right with a bit of support. He learned to stick with it, and developed a sense of pride in his ability to make something work.
Knitting with large wooden needles and 2 or 3-ply wool has exactly the same benefits. The kids in my son’s school knit right up till they are in their teens – boys and girls alike. It’s not a special needs school by the way.
Here’s an example of how you weave. You’ll see that it’s simple but not easy.
This frame is bigger than the ones I use with young children, but given that there aren’t many instructions in the box, I thought you’d like to see this fellow at work.
With a small child it’s just a question of weaving in and out and then turning the wool back and going in the other direction. It teaches children to work delicately and not to pull too hard.
Here’s another article I wrote about how to help your dyslexic child with homework. It is full of tips and information about making school work less difficult.
I hope you found this article helpful. Are you a weaver or did you have a little pegloom when you were a child? Please do leave a comment.
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