Give busy kids new, creative outlets with this big list of ideas from Stephanie of Swoodson Says.

Today’s Guest Curator: Stephanie from Swoodson Says

From Stephanie: I sew and craft to keep me sane while staying at home with two kids. I’m most passionate about handmade toys and using up fabric scraps. I blog about sewing, embroidery and crafts on Swoodson Says.

I’ve added six patterns since I curated a Handmade Holidays list last year— three freebies in addition to the Little Photographer Camera, Little Collector Backpack, Little Artist Palette, and Little Driver Wheel. They are all only $4, no coupon needed, for Black Friday (12 a.m.-12 p.m. CST)!

I send weekly social sewing calendar emails with creative, interesting links, sew along dates and competition info (plus blog post recaps, updates, etc.). I also spend way too much time on social media: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram

I have two very busy kids of my own, so in making this list I tried to think of what would wear them out, keep them happy while on the go and give them a spot to crash!

Make It

Flag Football Belt
What better way to burn energy than to run around playing sports?! This DIY Flag Football Belt from The Sew Spot is so creative, you could make a whole team’s worth and get the neighborhood in on the fun.

Dump Truck Floor Pillow
Busy kids need a serious incentive to slow down and recharge! A giant Dump Truck Floor Pillow is a sure bet, as it’s a magnet for kids (and pets) on Swoodson Says.

I-Spy Bag
Shifting beads around in an I-Spy Bag is soothing, and hunting for shapes is fun. Handmade in the Heartland has a clever tutorial to make this quick and easy design.

Every kid needs a hide-out and this Teepee hits the spot, from The Thud.

Drawstring Backpack
Balls, books, toys and treasure can all be toted around in this Sew Can She Drawstring Backpack. Kids could even sew this themselves!

Superhero Accessories
Giving children a job can help direct some of their energy, so why not channel their inner superhero into saving the world with fun Superhero Accessories from Hugs Are Fun.

Busy Bag
Here’s another bag option, this one is a “Busy Bag” from Aesthetic Nest with lots of pockets to stuff full of activities.

Pentagon Ball
Balls are universally loved by every age, and you could fill this Pentagon Ball from Man Sewing with different materials to keep kids guessing.

Stovetop Slipcover
Our favorite kind of busy is busy imaginations. Help it along with a Stovetop Slipcover for your kitchen chair with this tutorial from Friends Stitched Together. (Add Felt Bowtie Pasta (with a Box!), Fleece Veggies or Easy Felt Breakfast Food.)

Related tutorials you might enjoy: Party Ponies, Doll + Toy Carrycot, Softies! plus all of our Sewing for Kids Tutorials

Mix It

Coconut Cranberry Chia Seed Granola
Portable snacks are a must! Make this Coconut Cranberry Chia Seed Granola from A Cedar Spoon and slip it into a pocket or a bag for a sweet surprise.

Print It

Magnetic Hangman Game
A printable game on the go is perfect for road trips or holiday gifting. Try this Magnetic Hangman Game from Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Crafts!

Win It

Comment on today’s post for a chance to win one of these prizes!
Tip: If you’re hoping to win a prize that notes “US shipping only,” include your state in your name (i.e. Beth in WA) so we can confirm residence and avoid any disappointment on your end. Shipping range is determined by the generous companies that contribute prizes.

Stitch-opedia: The Only Embroidery Reference You’ll Ever Need

(US shipping only.)

Author: Helen Winthorpe Kendrick
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

There is nothing as beautiful as a wonderfully-worked embroidery design, either used to adorn clothing or as an embellishment on a home accessory. Now a new generation is rediscovering the pleasures of the centuries-old craft. Written for beginners and experts alike, Stitch-Opedia describes in detail hundreds of embroidery stitches. Each stitch is grouped into sections that include: canvas work, crewel work, hardanger, pulled work, stumpwork and much more. Each stitch includes close-up, detailed color photographs, a full-color working diagram, and accurate written instructions. An extremely helpful alphabetical listing with close-up thumbnail photographs appears later in the book allowing the user to cross-reference each stitch.

With sections on materials and equipment, basic techniques, and a collection of motifs that can be either copied or transferred to fabric, this beautifully-designed, full-color book is sure to attract newcomers and experts alike with its combination of convenience and creative encouragement.

The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion: The Essential Guide from the World’s Most Famous Fabric Store

(US shipping only.)

Author: Mood Designer Fabrics
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang

“Designers, we’re going to Mood!”

More than 10 years ago, Tim Gunn and Project Runway introduced millions of viewers to New York’s ultimate fabric mecca, Mood Fabrics. Now, the experts behind this fabric power- house bring their fabric and fashion know-how—plus their behind-the-scenes stories—to the sewing public. The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion is the ultimate guide for home-sewers, fashion students, aspiring designers, and Project Runway fans who want to learn everything they need to know to choose and use quality fabric. Drawing upon the expertise of the Mood staff, the book teaches readers the fundamentals—from where fabric is produced to the ins and outs of its construction—and features a fabric-by-fabric guide to cottons and other plant fibers, wools, silks, knits, and other specialty fabrics.

She Wears the Pants: Easy Sew-it-Yourself Fashion with an Edgy Urban Style

(US + Canada shipping only.)

Author: Yuko Takada
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing

Sew edgy, urban clothes with this stylish sewing book and add a touch of originality to your wardrobe.

More and more women are opting to make their own clothes, but most of the books on the market emphasize girly, feminine designs. She Wears the Pants is the first Japanese sewing book (in English) to focus on the increasingly popular “borrowed–from–the–boys” look. Already one of the best–known and reviewed sewing books in Japan, this sporty addition to the sew–it–yourself craze is poised to take the American DIY sewing market by storm.

Sometimes women are in the mood for clothes with strong, clean lines and casual sophistication—polish and simplicity without the frills. She Wears the Pants is the book for those times. A graduate of the Bunka Fashion Institute, Yuko Takada provides patterns and instructions for making twenty spare and streamlined wardrobe items…

Patterns can be easily adjusted to suit every body size, and Takada shows readers how to select inexpensive, readily available fabrics and transform them into an elegant new wardrobe. Understated never looked so good!

Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make

(US shipping only.)

Author: Amie Petronis Plumley, Andria Lisle
Publisher: Storey Publishing

Authors Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle teach a children’s sewing camp that delights kids and parents every year. Now, they have put their experience to work in creating this lively, how-to-sew book for ages five and up. Featuring 21 inspired projects, Sewing School shows kids how to create fabric masterpieces with minimal supervision. All projects have been kid-tested, and most can be made using simple hand stitches— no sewing machine required. Projects include pillows, dolls, blankets, wallets, totes, coasters, pot holders, sleep masks, mats, and more; each project features step-by-step instructions written at a second-grade comprehension level, a close-up photo of every step, and a photo of the finished project. The book includes full-sized cut-out patterns in a front pocket. Sewing School will have your kids in stitches!

Check out our 2014 Handmade Holidays list for more fun, creative ideas.

Here are 2015 gift ideas:

We respect the copyright of all crafters. All photos are used with permission from the artist.