When I was a kid, I loved anything that seemed official. Real tools, leather notebooks with strings that wrapped around them, magnifying glasses, those melted wax seals that "kings and queens" got to use, I coveted them all. I wanted to be a girl scout just so I could have a bunch of patches (although I never did end up becoming one), and if I'd had my own personal crest? I would have probably blown a gasket.
Going back to school each year is an exciting time for kids, but it can also be a mixed bag of emotions ranging from joy to perhaps a bit of anxiety and fear. If your little guys are shy like I was, the thought of meeting so many new faces and trying to find your new place in the midst of them can be a bit overwhelming. But, over the years, I've found that a little boost in confidence can go a long way.
Something as simple as handmade patches. . .
. . . for each accomplishment and strength along with a crest to show all their hidden super powers. . .
. . . could do just the trick.
Back to School Crests and Patches
- Scrap fabric
- Needle and thread (the more colors of thread, the better)
- Permanent marker or fabric marker
- Paper-backed, iron-on adhesive (optional.Can be found in any sewing/ fabric store)
Do the activities from the "With the Kids" section below to come up with the patterns for your crests and patches.
Cut out your crest shape. I chose to make a simple shield shape, but you could make an ornate option if that's what is calling to you. Felt is a great option for this as it does not fray, but any sturdy fabric would do.
Cut out the shapes you would like to add to the crest and glue or sew them in place. I like to sew things down as it tends to last through multiple washes better (or glue and sew). That said, if your little ones aren't up to sewing just yet, they could glue them on and you could tack them down later.
To make the patches, cut circles of felt at about 1.25" - 2" in diameter (whatever suits your preference). With a different fabric, cut circles that are roughly 1/4" smaller than the felt circles you cut. Ask your little guys to draw on these with a permanent marker (or a fabric marker if you have one). Using contrasting thread colors, sew the drawings onto the felt discs (see image above).
If you would like to make the patches and crests iron on, put the face side of the patch down and place the iron on paper on top of it with the shiny side up. Iron on the paper until if feels secure. Peal off the shiny paper and your patches are ready to iron onto backpacks, jackets, or anything else you can think of.
With the Kids:
- Talk to your kids about their favorite activities. Ask them what they love to do and what they think they are good at. Make simple drawings of these things on the fabric discs.
- Discuss the school subjects they might be a bit apprehensive about. Talk about fun ways they could start to form a better relationship with those subjects and draw encouragement patches that they could earn as they build their confidence and excitement in each area.
- Crests are full of symbols and meant to tell stories. Ask your children what stories they would like to tell and what images they would like to use.
- Do you have a family crest already? Take the opportunity to learn a little more about your own family history.
- Does your crest give you super powers? Ask your children what strengths their patches and crests will give them. Perhaps they will help them become super mathematicians, scientists, writers or artists. Or maybe they'll just help break the ice with a new group of friends.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: Back to School Fun