Toddler at out daycare having fun making the friendship quilt
By Julie Goldstein

This project all started with a book that we read up in The Studio called “The Friendship Quilt”. A story about a mouse that is very sad and her friends sew her a quilt to help make her feel happy. The children talked about friendship and how to make friends feel happy, loved and comforted.
Toddlers working together on an art project
The children learned to create their very own quilt by recycling fabrics from cloth, pillowcases, and blankets. They each glued small pieces of fabric onto cardboard then learned to use a needle and thread to stitch their boards together. Each child worked with a partner and learned how to attach the boards together.
Toddlers playing with materials for the friendship quilt
By the end of the class, the children were helping each other and finally sewed each piece together to create their very own “Friendship Quilt”. We discussed that any time a friend in class is feeling very sad, show them the quilt and remind them how to feel happy again.

Materials:

  • Pre-cut cardboard 4”x6” or smaller
  • Pre-cut fabric swatches 1”x 2” or smaller (unless the children are Pre-K and older they can cut their own fabrics)
  • Glue
  • Yarn ( a variety of colors)
  • Embroidery needles
  • Pin tool (to poke holes for sewing

Materials used in the friendship quilt
Steps:

  1. Read the story “The Fabric Quilt” and start a discussion about Friendship. I asked a few questions:
    • “We just started a new school year, are you all making new friends”?
    • “What does it mean to have a friend”?
    • “What do you like to do with your friends”?
    • “When a friend is sad, how do you help them to become happy”?
  2. Hand out the cardboard and a pile of scraps
  3. Glue the entire board
  4. Apply fabric swatches and teach the children how to overlap to cover all of the spaces.
  5. Once it is dry, poke holes all over the cardboard, including the edges
  6. Thread the needle and double knot the end
  7. Teach the kids to go “over and under” and pull the yarn tight and to sew into each hole. They can even add buttons, beads or found objects.
  8. Have the kids work in pairs and sew two boards together at a time.
  9. Then have the pairs work in groups of 4 and sew two boards together to create four boards.
  10. Finally, have the kids help hold the edges of the boards and sew the entire Quilt together.

This is a fun and challenging project. The kids will feel a sense of accomplishment and trust after the quilt is complete.
Painting the friendship quilt
Have Fun!
Completed friendship quilt
toddlers creating the friendship quilt