I am a creative person. But I don’t consider myself crafty. I know, I know, not something you expected to hear from someone as you read their post about craft ideas, right?! But this is more than simply crafting ideas because if you’re like me, you sometimes struggle with ideas for your young children. What will keep them busy and engaged? I did a little research and tried a few things of my own and put together this list of 10 fun activities with yarn for little kids.
The activities range from simple to a little less simple so there is something for everyone (even the non-crafty). And they are perfect for those of you (again, like me) who might have a bag of leftover knitting yarn in your garage.
Here is a list of the 10 fun activities with yarn for kids that you’ll find within this post. Scroll down the page to see them all, or click the title to go directly to that activity.
- Make a necklace.
- Wrap a tree.
- Make Christmas or “Summer” ornaments.
- Do freestyle play.
- Make a sensory bin.
- Make a paper bag satchel.
- Craft a flower arrangement.
- Do rainbow art.
- Make wind chimes.
- Make a jellyfish.
Activity #1: Make a necklace.
I like this idea because you can get as simple or as complex as you like, making it a great activity for toddlers on up to older children. Choose what’s best for your kid’s age level.
Things You Need:
- Dried pasta like elbows or penne + washable kids paints and brushes (or just use fingers)
- Various beads that will fit on yarn or plastic straws cut into smaller pieces (*as pictured above)
- Optional – cardboard or thick cardstock to cut a shape “pendant” + hole punch + paint / markers / crayons
- Optional – glue or scotch tape (I glued the end of the yarn so it wouldn’t fray as we threaded it. You could also scotch tape the ends.)
You have lots of options!
- Level 1: Thread dried pasta onto yarn and knot the ends so the pasta won’t fall off. (Also great for eye-hand coordination and motor skills in little ones.)
- Level 2: Paint the dried pasta first. Let it dry. Then thread it. Use different types of “threadable” pasta to make interesting patterns. (After we looped one piece of pasta over the yarn, I helped him double back through with the yarn again to keep the pasta in place on the necklace. As pictured above, we alternated with cut-up straw pieces.)
- Level 3: Make pendants out of cardboard. Grownup cuts a circle, triangle, or square (or any shape) and punches a hole for the yarn to go through. Then let the child paint, draw, or color the pendant. (Can do this in combination with the pasta, if desired.)
- Level 4: Use beads of varying sizes. (Better for more experienced fingers.)
- Variations: You could braid or help your child braid the yarn. You can also make matching bracelets.
Activity #2: Wrap a tree.
I just learned today that this art form is called Yarnbombing. And that it supposedly started in 2005 when a shop-owner in Houston decided to put a knitted cover on her shop’s door handle. Your toddler may or may not be interested in it, but it’s an easy thing to try. And older kids can simply get more intricate with it as age permits. (You may want to show them a picture of a knitted tree scarf like the one below so they get it. And talk about how there are a ton of different ways to make art.) This is also one of those fun activities with yarn for kids that can be left up to decorate your yard as long as you want! (Ours has been up for months!)
Things You Need:
- Level 1: Simply wrap the yarn around a tree. Have your child stand on one side and you on the other and pass it around and around. Or get it started wrapping it once around and tying it in a knot at the bottom and then let your child walk around the tree with the yarn. Change colors as you want.
- Level 2: To get more complex for older children, add more detail by changing the yarn colors more often or in a specific pattern. Or braid long strands before wrapping.
Activity #3: Make Christmas or “Summer” ornaments.
These can be Christmas ornaments (and yes, we made some in May. Getting a head start.) Or you can make decorative ornaments to hang on the wall or in your kid’s room. Call them summer ornaments! I made a circle and a tree-shape, but you can try different shapes to wrap yarn around.
Things You Need:
- Cardboard (like from a box)
- Hole puncher
- Scotch tape (optional)
Make the circle:
Cut a circle shape out of cardboard. Whatever size you want. A 2-1/2 -inch size works great. I also cut slits at 12, 3, 6, and 9 (if it were a clock face). I cut the slits about ¼-inch deep. And in between those slits, I added ⅛-inch deep slits. Then simply wrap the yarn around the cardboard so that it fits in the slits. You can wrap in a pattern to get the star shape or you can “freestyle” wrap to get a more abstract star. Then punch a hole and use a piece of yarn to make a hanging loop for your ornament.
Make the tree:
Cut a triangle shape out of cardboard. Make it whatever size you desire. Choose a yarn color and a small piece of tape to attach it to the tree. Then simply wrap the yarn around the tree shape. It can be wrapped as neatly or as messy as desired. Finish up by punching a hole at the top and using a piece of yarn to make a hanging loop for the ornament. (If its a Christmas tree you want, use green or red (or both), and if you want the “summer ornament” look, go for a bright color like pink or blue.)
Activity #4: Do freestyle play.
In other words, hand your kid the ball of yarn and let them go wild. You might think I’m crazy, but the most fun activities to do with yarn for kids are sometimes the ones that aren’t pre-planned. I set out to try several different ideas for my old yarn, and as I started laying out a certain activity (which didn’t make it to this list) my four-year-old simply wanted to play with the ball of yarn. Like a cat.
He threw it in the air pretending it was a rocket, a meteor, and an airplane — watching the tail of yarn trail behind. He rolled in down the driveway. And then he wrapped it around a chair on the front porch. We went to the backyard, and he launched it off the back deck.
And the next section below is the best part of it.
Things You Need:
- Yarn. JUST yarn.
Give them the yarn. That’s it! The thing about this (and a lot of activities) is that certain things shouldn’t be available for play all the time. Because they get ignored. If you leave balls of yarn out for play all the time, the novelty will wear off. So I suggest having yarn in a rotation of activities that you take out once every three or four weeks. (I talk more about this in this blog post about preschooler activities.)
Activity #5: Make a sensory bin.
I love this idea from Fantastic Fun and Learning because it takes minimal effort. It’s also good for your younger ones because they are free to do what they want with the yarn. And as long as they can keep the yarn in or near the bin, it’s low-mess. Plus, once you set it up, they can play independently.
Activity #6: Make a paper bag satchel.
I love this idea from Buggy and Buddy. With just a few items you already have around the house, your kid can make a really cool craft that can be used for dress-up and imagination play. It probably won’t be your best bet for a toddler activity, but Pre-K and up would most likely love it.
Activity #7: Make a flower arrangement.
School Time Snippets has a lovely idea for a little vase of homemade crafted flowers. Plus it would probably make a cute gift for grandparents.
Activity #8: Make rainbow art.
This activity from Rhythms of Play uses yarn in place of crayons or markers for a fun rainbow piece inspired by a children’s book. A younger child might not be able to line up the yarn perfectly but might still enjoy gluing yarn to paper!
Activity #9: Make wind chimes.
This idea from One Crazy Mom is super cute. It would be great for an older kid to make or as a project that you do together with your younger kid.
Activity #10: Make a jellyfish.
Non-toy Gifts has a great how-to for making these cute jellyfish out of paper plates and yarn. My four-year-old and I made these together for his “under the sea” themed birthday party. I hung them in the doorway to the playroom, and my son wouldn’t let me take them down for weeks.
Doing fun activities with yarn for kids doesn’t have to be overly complicated or “crafty” if you don’t want it to be. And if nothing else, remember the #4 activity. The one in which I ditch the craft and just let my kid toss around the yarn like it’s a rocketship!
Share which one you’d like to try in the comments below. And if you are looking for more awesome activities, check out the blog post on keeping your preschoolers (and even other ages) engaged and entertained: How to Entertain Preschoolers at Home.