The yarn basket is a *work* that came out of my desire to be able to knit during the day instead of always late at night after all the monkeys were in bed. Aidan has known how to finger knit for quite some time and recently learned how to "cork" (also called French Knitting). Beyond that, the boys were always raiding my yarn stash for bits and bobs for their own adventures! For a long time I resisted the little bits of string or weaving tied to doorknobs and other strange places, but I am slowly coming to embrace the creative play that comes with the string.
Snipping for the Toddler
Finger Crochet for the Preschooler
The only materials you need are a basket, small balls rolled from scrap yarn (or thrift store yarn if you are not a knitter)- a variety of textures is best, a small blunt scissors, and possibly a french knitting flower and crochet hook, but that is optional. Older children may be able to learn basic knit and crochet stitches as well. I keep this basket on my sewing table instead of out all of the time as a fun thing to pull out on an afternoon when everyone is *bor-ed* or when I want some time to work on a project myself and I need to keep little fingers busy.
The post really wouldn't be complete unless I showed you this, but honestly it is not as bad as it looks. If you keep your yarn balls small it is pretty quick to roll everything back up and take a vacuum to the little pieces!