The Mitten

To finish off the winter season, we focused on Jan Brett’s The Mitten, based on the Ukranian folktale.  In the story Nikki wants his Babba to make him white mittens even though they could be lost in the snow.  He then loses a mitten and all different animals crawl into the mitten to stay warm.  It’s a sweet story with cute pictures!

Skills: fine motor skills, art, shapes, counting, color recognition
Supplies: stiff white felt, yarn, one pipe cleaner, single hole punch, scissors, felt with a sticky back or other decorations, file folder, buttons,

The mittens we made turned out really well and the girls LOVED “sewing” them!

To make the mittens, fold a sheet of the stiff, white felt in half and cut out two mittens.  (I started with a mitten template from Jan Brett’s website here but ended up adapting it to a size and shape that worked better for me.)  Then punch holes all around the edges of one of the mittens.  Place one mitten over the other and mark a dot through each hole.  Punch holes out on the second mitten.

Next cut the yarn to be your “thread.”  I measured the yarn twice around the mitten to know where to cut.  Then cut about 1 1/2 inches from the pipe cleaner to be your needle.  Tie the yarn to the end of the pipe cleaner and then fold the tip over the knot.  I usually give the pipe cleaner a twist to hold on the yarn.  Tie the other end of the yarn to one of the holes at the bottom of the mitten.  I found it was easier to have all of this done ahead of time.

This was one project where we really had to work one at a time.  The girls would take turns playing with the mitten pieces and practicing poking the thread through the holes while I helped one with the actually stitching.

Afterwards we decorated the mittens using shapes I cut out of the sticky-back felt.  We talked about why Babba didn’t want Nikki to have white mittens in the snow and how our decorations would help Nikki find his mitten sooner.  Originally my plan was for the girls to glue on bits of felt, ribbon, and pom poms.  I then remembered I had the felt with the sticker backing and that was sooooo much easier and cleaner.

Later the girls colored the animals from the story on this printable from Jan Brett’s website.  I then cut out the animals they colored.  With the animal pieces we re-read the story, putting them in their mittens as we went.

To practice our colors and counting, we also played a file folder game that I got here.  Since we’ve done a few color matching games in the past, this time we matched colored buttons to the mittens in the folder.  I had gotten a bag of multicolor buttons from the fabric store to use on projects like this.  We then counted the buttons on each mitten, since each had a different amounts including zero.

We also read the nursery rhyme, “Three Little Kittens.”  Then we colored the picture I found here while practicing the number three.


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  1. […] easier I attached a little “needle” made out of a pipe cleaner.  Since we had sewn the mittens before, we experimented a little with different […]

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