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We’re hosting FunStitch Studio Summer Camp throughout the month of August! FunStitch Studio is a children’s book imprint from C&T Publishing featuring sewing, quilting and embroidering skills and projects.

Today we have a special project from Lenka Vodicka-Paredes, co-author of the FunStitch Studio book Forest Fairy Crafts. Your comment below also enters you to win one of two copies of Forest Fairy Crafts. Will your family make a gnome game?!

Lenka Vodicka-Paredes and Asia Currie are the authors of Forest Fairy Crafts, a book with 28+ projects for making “enchanting fairies and felt friends” with simple supplies.

Today Lenka shows you how to make an easy and fun Gnome Game.

Sew a Gnome and Make a Game

Supplies:

  • Felt
  • Gnome Shapes (Craft Store)
  • Needle, Thread, Scissors, and Glue
  • Paper for Game Board
  • Colored Pencils, Markers, and/or Paints
  • Dice and/or Blank Cards

Optional Supplies:

  • Bell
  • Sequins
  • Stuffing

Welcome!

Today we can make toys. We will sew hats for little gnomes. You can play with your gnomes by building them a house or taking them on a walk. Or you can make a game for your gnomes.

What kind of game do you want to make? A pirate game? A castle game? A magic forest game? We are going to sew little hats for our game tokens.

We will use peg people to create tokens. We use the smaller 1-11/16th size peg people that you can find with unfinished wood in your local craft shop or online. We also used the tiny-size, 1-3/16th, for our wee tokens. You can make your gnomes match your game- Pirates! Princesses! Fairies! Or you can just make them look different from one another.

The Body
We used watercolor paints for our body. You could also use acrylic paint or markers.

You will notice that the wood soaks up water, so be careful around your peg person’s face. How is painting on wood different from painting on paper?

Let your paint dry; you can sew the hats while you wait.

The Hat
Cut a small triangle that fits around your gnome’s head. We cut a triangle 2 3/4 by 2 1/4 (tiny gnome is 2 1/4 by 1 3/4) If you have a different size peg doll, just make the hat smaller or larger. We used embroidery thread for sewing. If your needle keeps sliding off of the thread, here is a trick: Pull three threads off of the group of six. Save the other three threads for later. Poke the threads through your needle and tie both of the ends together with a knot. The thread won’t be too thick and the needle won’t escape anymore.

You can sew sequins or beads on your hats to decorate. You can add a stripe or heart shape with another color of felt. Have fun! We wanted to play quickly, so we did not put decorations on our hats.

When you are done decorating, fold the hat in half. An adult can help if this is tricky. You can hold it together with a safety pin while you sew. Sew the two halves together going up the back of the hat to the top. At the top, you can add a bead or bell if you like. Tie a knot. Take out the safety pin. Your hat looks fantastic!

You can add a tiny bit of stuffing to the hat if you want. Dab a little glue on the peg person’s head and settle the hat in place. Let your token dry. Now he or she wants to play!

The Face
We usually keep our token faces blank. We find that we can imagine any expression that way. If you want to add a face, we recommended colored pencils so the marker doesn’t seep into the wood cracks. You can add little eyes peeking out from under the hat. You can decide what looks best for your game tokens.

When your tokens are dry, they are ready for your game. Let’s design a game board!

The Board
On your game board, draw a path for your gnomes. We made circles and lines. We added a rainbow bridge. Give your path a beginning and an ending.

Along the way, create fun “lands.” You can make a castle or a cave. Draw a dragon or a rainbow or a pirate ship. We added a fairy castle and a pink candy river with a mermaid and baby fish. Make your game exciting!

Paint or color your gameboard to make it fancy. Think of your game’s rules as you decorate. Have fun and keep it simple. Do you like playing games with fifty rules? Probably not. Choose a few rules. You can write on special spots to “move ahead one space” or “roll the dice again.” Think of the games that you enjoy. What do they have that makes the game extra-fun?

Write your rules and collect anything your game needs (such as a dice or treasure to find along the path). You can even make little cards with questions or challenges like “sing a song” or “make a silly face.”

When your board is finished and your gnomes are dry, you are ready to play! Find a friend or a stuffed animal or a doll to play with you! Have a playful day!

For Adults:
Younger children (little brothers and sisters) have fantastic ideas, too. They may need extra help along the way, but they love painting gnomes and creating games!

Designing games is a fun challenge for children. Many times, we may want to jump in with suggestions or improvements. More often, allowing children to play it through a few times and make their own adjustments builds valuable planning and evaluative skills.

As a teacher, I love homemade games. Even the most silly and wild games are important to the children who create them. Let a child be the adult and teach you how to play. It’s a precious experience! Enjoy learning!

Of course, children also need to learn a few skills along the way, and, after a free-choice game of their own, you may want to make a few games together for fun learning.

Game-building can reinforce concepts that children are practicing. If one dice is easy, use two dice to practice addition (make the game “longer” with a longer path if you want to use two dice).

A set of blank cards can be made into quiz-questions that players answer along the way or you can use them as a bonus option when landing on a certain space.

A deck of blank cards can be great learning for vocabulary, times-tables, or history (think of a few favorite adult games that reward you for correctly answering challenging questions)…

A game that you create together is special for many reasons, especially the time you spend creating and playing together. Thank you for visiting our Forest Fairy Summer Camp!

Project by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes. Lenka is a teacher and mama. She wrote Forest Fairy Crafts with her friend, Asia, after many years of sewing handcrafts with children. Lenka and Asia love seeing children create magic with a needle and thread! You can find more sewing activities and ideas in the Forest Fairy Crafts book and at at ForestFairyCrafts.com.