I don't think I've ever read a Lois Ehlert book I didn't like. But when I noticed Hands on the shelf at the library, I just thought it was too perfect for our family. When we got to the part where the mother is teaching the child to sew mouse toys, L was too excited. So, a mouse toy we made.
She's four, so I kept it as simple as possible.
1. Cut felt: a heart for the body, and two circles for ears.
2. Fold the heart in half and sew from the nose almost to the back.
A preschooler can do a few stitches with help.
3. Stuff a bit of poly-fil in the hole. Poke, poke.
4. Stick a piece of ric rac in the hole and finish stitching it closed.
Make sure you sew through the ric rac.
5. Pinch the circles and secure to either side of the head with a few stitches.
6. Sew on button eyes. Two hole buttons are easier than four.
L did this really well - with some help, of course.
The whole thing took less than 10 minutes. I did most of the work, but she helped with every step, and we talked about every detail: tying a knot at the end of the thread, how to make a stitch, what shape each piece was. When it was time to poke the stuffing in, she ran to get a pencil because she's seen me use on so many times. I had no idea she was paying so much attention.
She told me that evening, "Someday, when I'm bigger, I'm going to be a mommy. And I'm going to work at night." It's amazing how much that kind of thing means to me, and how much it makes me want to be better.