The Art of Sewing in the Montessori Early Childhood Environment!


Design from Shabby

Rainy, wintry days are a wonderful time for children to do handicrafts indoors. Sewing is one of those rainy day activities that catches on quickly, especially if the children are a bit older. 

Whenever I have introduced sewing in the Preschool environment, the children just seem to naturally group together and before you know it, there's a little "sewing bee!"

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

I have found that Montessori children who have spent lots of time practicing fine motor skills in the various curriculum areas (especially Practical Life) are usually ready for the first sewing lessons!


Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Photos found on

Even toddlers enjoy "threading" large foam beads on string that has been prepared for stringing necklaces. Be sure to check the beads in your choke tube tester before offering them to the children under 3 years old. 

Choke Tester Tube. This product is available at this link: Choking Tester.

As children progress and develop skills, beading activities become more and more appealing. You can add challenges like making patterns with colored beads and matching pattern cards. (pictured above) 

Then, to really practice moving a "needle", the wooden "Sew n Sew" toy (pictured above) is an engaging activity for Preschoolers.  

At some point, children are ready for lacing activities. Lacing cards are fun and come in so many themes that appeal to children. 

You will find many products that I have used for introducing sewing to young children in My Amazon Shop: SEWING with KIDS.


Plastic canvas used in needlepoint work

Metal needlepoint needle at Amazon: School Specialty Weaving Needle.

Plastic canvas can be purchased at Amazon, by clicking here.

One of the first actual sewing activities that I have offered to Preschoolers, is made up of "plastic canvas" (pictured above), large plastic or metal tapestry or needlepoint needles, and sturdy thin yarn. 

In the beginning, you can prepare small squares of the plastic canvas with a needle threaded with yarn and already tied to the burlap. Later, children can be shown how to thread the needle with a needle threader.


I personally like the metal tapestry needles because they don't bend when children are using them. However, I have also offered the plastic children's needles pictured below and both work fine for beginning sewing activities with young children. Both styles have fairly blunt ends (not sharp) and it's best to choose the ones you are most comfortable with for your group.

I like this metal tapestry needle set available at Amazon: by clicking here. And more available by clicking here.

Plastic needles are at this link: Plastic Needles at Amazon. 


Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

I think children like to sew with a purpose! Sewing on a 
button is very gratifying, and also a fairly simple activity that an older child can be successful at completing. 

When you have a roll of large weave canvas available, then the children can take the buttons home that they have carefully sewn onto the canvas. 

The adult can cut squares of burlap cloth that can be stretched  on a 6 or 8 inch embroidery hoop. Then, as each child completes their button sewn onto the burlap, s/he can open the embroidery hoop and remove the burlap to take their button home!

Next,  the child (or teacher) can place a pre-cut piece of burlap onto the embroidery hoop for the next child to sew a button. 

Opening an embroidery hoop is an excellent fine motor activity for the older Preschooler!

Embroidery hoop available on Amazon: at this link .

Large weave burlap at Amazon. Link is here.

Click here to learn more about this yarn:Yarn at Amazon. 

Colorful embroidery thread available at Amazon: at this link

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

The children love the idea of a sewing basket filled with the objects needed for sewing a button. 
  • Embroidery hoop with burlap cloth stretched on it
  • Tapestry needles with large eyes (opening)
  • Thin yarn (or embroidery thread)
  • Scissors
  • Needle threader
  • Large buttons
Needle threaders are a big help for the child to thread his/her own needle. You can also pre-thread several needles and have them ready and waiting in the sewing basket.  

I have used commercial needle threaders like the ones pictured below:
Needle threader can be found on Amazon: at this link 

You can also provide a large metal paper clip to use as a needle threader. These work really well and I like to provide the pretty gold colored ones that are very appealing to the children. They are used just like a regular needle threader, but they are much easier for small fingers to handle.

These paper clips to use as a needle threader can be found: at this link

I've found these large and colorful buttons pictured below to work well, especially with the metal tapestry needles. The children really enjoy choosing the button they want to sew.

These large buttons are at Amazon: here

Something about sewing lends itself to finding a cozy spot to work with a friend (or two.) The sweet conversations heard during this wonderful handicraft activity remind me of sewing with my grandmother (and cousins) when I was a little girl! 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

For practicing, I have often provided a super big "quilting hoop" (23 in. embroidery hoop) with a large piece of burlap stretched on it. Then, I provide a sewing basket with 3 or 4 plastic needles, thin yarn, a variety of buttons with large holes, some small & colorful swatches of open weave material scraps, and even bits of lace.

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

This super large hoop can be kept at its own table where several children can work at a time. The "group hoop" is lovely for hanging on the wall to display the children's collaborative efforts. Like an old-fashioned crazy quilt! 

Collage photo by art from Dollar Photo Club with embellishments added

I am very happy to know that you are visiting my blog and I hope that you have gotten some ideas you can use with your own group. 

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

I love to hear you ideas, so please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the section below!

You can find my post and many more articles at the MONTESSORI MONDAY LINK UP from the Living Montessori Now site. Just click here and explore: Living Montessori Now Link Up.

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