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When I saw this awesome weaving installation on display at the Bay Area Discovery Museum I knew it was something that I wanted to recreate at home. If I were running a preschool I think I would have taken the time to build such a structure because it would be a stellar group project, but as the parent of one curious, yet fickle, preschooler I thought it might be prudent to build a simple test-model first to see if this would be an idea worthy of further exploration (and investment!).

Recycled Weaving Fence

After scratching my head over this, I came up with this prototype made from wooden skewers (two on each end), painters tape, a deconstructed fruit sack from the market, and assorted ribbon.

Recycled Weaving Fence

It was a beautiful day, and N was up for the challenge.

Recycled Weaving Fence

With four ribbon spools to choose from, she cut  what she wanted and worked on figuring out how to get it through the mesh.

Recycled Weaving Fence

It was tricky, but she kept at it until she figured it out. Real challenges give kids the opportunity to celebrate their successes and gain confidence in their problem-solving abilities.

Recycled Weaving Fence

She also tried this shiny, elastic ribbon, and found it was easier to push through the holes. What a nice surprise lesson in compare and contrast!

Recycled Weaving Fence

And she even wrapped it all the way around the edge of the wood post.

Recycled Weaving Fence

N likes collaborating with me — it seems that she takes her work more seriously if I get involved too — so you can see a few of my ribbons woven in there as well. We worked on this for about 20 minutes and I left it up so that we can revisit it over the course of the week. And if there’s still energy around weaving, and this project in particular, I may just invest in some garden fencing like the stuff I saw at the children’s museum.

Has anyone made one of these? Did your child/children stick with it for a while?

Related Ideas

  • If you have a chainlink fence, you could weave through it with fabric or crepe paper. I’m thinking about bringing a basket of crepe paper with us next time we visit the park. Do you think anyone would mind if we made a fence weaving installation?
  • Check out this yarn heart-weaving from Outdoor Knit.

What else could you build a weaving fence from?

This post was shared with Craft Schooling Sunday. Childhood 101, It’s Playtime

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  1. I tried this one a couple months ago thinking it would be a big hit. the kids didn’t even give it 30 seconds. finally after 5 or so days I completed the weaving in our wire fence and today it is still there and not once have the kids touched it, looked at it, asked questions. really??? strange kids. weaving is awesome!!!

  2. Great idea! We’ll have to try this too! We don’t have a fence either so we’ll have to go to a park or build one! It looks like your daughter had a good time weaving. Let us know if she revisits this during the week!

  3. Rachelle,
    Nice pictures and an awesome idea!
    (I enjoyed seeing that it looks warm and summery there) 🙂

    I’ve been thinking of weaving as well.
    I like your prototype using these mesh bags, I was just last week thinking about what I could do with some I saved.

    There is a lovely post on Flights of Whimsey, with a just wonderful permanent weaving structure she has at her center. I think if you look her up it will still be up.

    Jenny at Let the Children Play also did a post with weaving using garden mesh from the hardware store. Also an excellent post you might want to look at.

    Thanks for this good idea!

    • It is so summery here. You must be dealing with the last bits of winter? I saw Jenny’s post, too, and was so close to buying the mesh a couple weeks ago. It was only $15, but that’s a chunk of change if my daughter isn’t wholly invested. I’m still on the fence (har har) about it.

  4. YEAH!!! I have a chain link fence in my backyard, and a lot of weaving materials. This is going to be a great afternoon activity.

    • Awesome, Jill! It made me wish for a chain link fence. That would have made things a lot easier!

  5. What a beautiful piece of outdoor art…and fine motor practice! I love this idea!

  6. I love this idea & it’s one we’re planning to do this summer. I have a folder of saved ideas for summer activities because we’ll need to do something but I don’t want our days to be overly structured either. I hope my group will enjoy it! Your little one is really into it!

    • Hi Stacy~ I’d love to hear back on how this works with a group of children. I imagine that it would be even more successful because children tend to motivate one another. But you never know!

  7. I wonder now how my 4 year old will take to this activity. Depends on her mood, I guess. I have to think how to set it up.

  8. I’ve tried it with my then 3-year old boy last summer using our deck’s lattice work. Didn’t catch his interest for long. But just last weekend (May 1st, in fact) I bought a few tomato cages and left them in the yard. Next thing I know, my now 4-year old is weaving leaves, sticks and flowers through the cages and asking for ribbons. I’m going to post a pic on my blog ’cause it was very cute. I think part of this year’s success has to do with the fact that tomato cages have these big cells and the netting has small cells. My son is not one for minute work and prefers giant projects. So this suited him. Plus tomato cages looked like rockets to him and he’s in the rocket phase.

    • Yelena — this is such a great idea, and I can’t wait to try it out! I remember your son’s rocket interest, and now that you mention it tomato cages DO look like rockets. Never thought of them that way before. Thanks for sharing. ~R

  9. Perfect! I love the look of concentration. We used plastic garden mesh and it worked a treat – it is more sturdy and the holes are quite large. It is also reusable so ticks on all counts 🙂 You could have a look here:


    or here is another post on weaving with a stack of ideas:


    • Thanks for the links! I love your garden weaving and think it would be beautiful in our yard.

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