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Big Time Entertainment for Kids -- Basically Speaking
By Joe Bingham

"Mom, Dad, I'm bored. What can I do?" Ever hear that one?

I always thought I should basically just be a guide to my kids as they grew up. To them, however, I must look more like a circus ringmaster. Which ok, maybe I've got the pot belly, but I don't even own a top hat!

It just seems that today's kids have so much to do, they no longer know how to do anything! In fact, even their creative thinking is being done for them. It's no longer necessary to create stories, you just watch a movie. It's no longer necessary to imagine dolls talking, they really do talk. In fact, the ingenuity of previous generations has automated so much, and solved so many problems, that some basic thinking and skills are no longer required. 

Well, ok, we're not to the point of having automatic banana peelers, self propelled, laser guided, eating utensils, or robotic toilet bowl cleaners yet, but there are some basics many people have left by the wayside.

Take sewing for example. You don't have to do it. You can 
buy all the clothes you need already put together. So what's the point?

What's the point? Sewing is near the top of the list of necessary personal skills and survival skills. It's just plain useful and sensible to know how to sew.

Of course, you and I as adults understand that, but how do you convince a kid that sees racks of clothes at Wal-Mart of it's usefulness?

By avoiding the entire subject, of course. 

Instead, focus on the entertainment value of sewing. After all, it is fun. It's creative, challenging, requires applied action, independent thinking, problem solving ability, and develops good motor skills. 

There, I just quoted the same reasons for sewing that I used to use on my parents when I wanted to play video games.

Hmmm. Do you see where I'm going with this? It has to be 
made into a fun activity. Put it on the 'get to do' list, not the 'have to do' list.

Sewing does develop all of those good things in children, even when they are still young. Hey, if a kid can learn to read, he or she can learn to sew. 

It can also be a great family activity, or a good one on one 
experience for you and your child. 

My kids recently had some sewing lessons from Grandma, and were even given their own sewing kit. Now, you might not think it's a miracle, but I know a few previously naked Barbie dolls that are ecstatic about the idea. New clothes, new pillows, you name it, they are getting it! The kids feel a real sense of pride knowing they did it themselves, too.

For the older kids that are into the latest fashions, sewing can provide another miracle. Now, I'm not too hip, but from what I can tell, kids are supposed to look basically like everybody else, yet be unique.

Sewing then gives teenagers an avenue to personal expression and fashionable creativity without having to pierce any body parts. A good mix of 'I bought this at the popular store', and 'I made this myself', is definitely cool.

So, keep thoughts about sewing providing good general 
knowledge, self sufficiency, and good economics to yourself 
until they get married.

Instead, bring in products or learning materials about basics 
such as sewing from outside sources. I mean, let's face it, this is how kids think: "Sure, I trust you, Dad. I just don't believe anything you tell me until I hear it from somewhere else, too."

That's a hard one to accept, I know, but there it is. Commercial products make basic things seem more real than they otherwise do. Everyone knows the Pioneers of the American West had to sew, but then they started a department store and all quit, right? 

Wrong, but easy to believe unless kids see modern day 
products or instructions about sewing. Then, it becomes more of a real item. 

The good thing is that "Mom, I'm bored," can be replaced with, "Mom, look what I made!" It just takes a little encouragement and the proper materials to start them out with. Naturally, the younger you start, the easier it will be.

My 3 year old still says, "Yeah, sure," when I ask her to do 
something. That's a stage to be treasured. She may be a little young to handle a needle, but there's no reason she can't sit with Mom, Dad, or Grandma, and start to see the enjoyment and creativity of it.

Personally, I think as parents these days we just may have an advantage that we don't always realize. We don't necessarily have to create the next wonder of the world for our kids. In fact, going back to some basics often proves more fun for them than anything. With computers and TV doing and showing wondrous things, it's hard to impress a kid anyway. Teaching basics such as sewing that lead the child to create their own personal wonders will in the end be more rewarding for both parents and kids.

Not to mention, they actually have to sit still for a while to do it!

---------------------------------------------------------------- Check out the Easy to Read, Illustrated, Sewing Lessons for Kids offered by "Directions" from Sewing Prose. From beginner to advanced, these independent study lessons bring the creativity and fun of sewing even to your youngest readers. Product recommendations, classroom listings, store listings, ideas, events, and even Online Sewing Lessons await you. Get involved, and Get Your Kids involved at: Written by Joe Bingham, Editor of the NetPlay Newsletters. ----------------------------------------------------------------

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