Paper weaving has meaning in both Montessori and Froebel philosophies. No matter your style of parenting or education preference, paper weaving is a great activity for developing fine motor skills, spatial awareness and early mathematical skills.
In Montessori, weaving is a practical life activity. In Froebel, weaving is both a gift and an occupation.
Have you read about Froebel? There are lots of similarities between the Froebel and Montessori approaches. Froebel believed that children gain a deeper understanding of the world around them when given opportunities to interact with concrete activities and use carefully selected hands-on manipulatives. Sounds familiar, right?
Froebel developed hands-on manipulatives called gifts. The gifts were designed to develop the child's visual and spatial sense. Paper weaving (mat weaving) has been identified as gift number fourteen. Froebel's gift number fourteen is a rich medium for mathematical explorations related to weaving, including number work, geometry, and tessellations. One of the reasons I am interested in Frobels gifts is they focus on teaching mathematics through geometry, including geometric reasoning and spatial awareness. Introducing these gifts and concepts in the early years can help to lay the foundation for later mathematical work.
Paper weaving is something we can start at kindergarten age, but it can also follow through to the primary age.
For toddlers and preschoolers, threading and lacing are good pre-weaving activities. See above the sewing cards we use, this is good preparation for sewing and embroidery, and it's also good preparation for weaving! We have used lots of other sewing cards here.
Ribbon weaving is easy to set up. I've used a spare shelf from our small fridge. Others have used plastic fencing and cooling racks. I started this with my children between 3-4 years.
Over, under, over, under. This is good preparation for paper weaving.
My 4-year-old (almost five) is still learning how to consistently make the same weaving pattern.
For older children (primary), there are lots of fun ways to delve into weaving, we could try Swedish paper heart weaving.
There are tutorials online on how to make paper heart baskets, but these are simple paper hearts. Our Swedish paper heart weaving template is here (free download).
Otis (11yrs) made these. Really cute, and they can be used as decorations, I believe these are a Swedish Christmas craft.
Are you wanting some more Montessori weaving ideas?
- Montessori Album has a good description of paper weaving.
- Montessori Joyous Daycare Centre has some lovely pictures of children weaving with paper here.
- Ann Arbor Children's House has some lovely winter weaving.
- Art for Small Hands, written by a Montessori teacher, has a good example of wavy paper weaving for ages 6-13yrs.
- Although not currently available, this Montessori weaving material from Mima Montessori could be DIYed.
Image credit: Montessori Album
Or how about a Montessori dressing/weaving frame? I love this idea.
Or these weaving frames.