I love how connected I felt with my preschooler during this dream catcher craft! My son sat in my lap, my arms around him, my hands guiding his fingers as he looped the thread over his woven hibiscus branch to create his first knot. It was quiet as he focused. There was a moment of closeness and calm. Then, he suddenly jumped up, ran, and squealed as the puppy chased him. But after each distraction, he came back for another knot, another cuddle, and more tranquility. After two days of creating at the pace he was comfortable with, we hung his completed dream catcher over his bed.
Dream Catcher Craft for Preschoolers
The goal for this dream catcher craft for preschoolers is to help with bedtime anxieties, while also introducing tying knots and practicing fine motor skills. An added benefit of this activity is the chance to introduce Native American or Indigenous Canadian history and culture in an age-appropriate way.
History & Meaning:
Non-Native American people appropriated dream catchers in the 1960’s, but dream catchers originated with the Ojibwe. Each material used in the original dream catchers carried a spiritual meaning. The webbed circular portion captures harmful energy or bad dreams and the feathers deliver the positive energy and dreams to infants and children.
- Flexible wooden branch or embroidery hoop
- Beads, feathers, or other found objects for decoration
- Optional: Lavender Essential Oil
This project can take half an hour or can be stretched out to fill a week with daily knot-tying practice. Recognizing my son’s very short attention span and big energy, I decided to break this up into two days.
Additionally, we kept the knots and pattern very simple. The knots and patterns can be scaled in complexity to match your child’s needs.
For the first day, we wove a branch from our hibiscus tree into a circle, creating the hoop for our web. Using safety scissors, my preschooler cut eight pieces of thread that measured approximately a yard each. It helps to over-estimate the length of string needed than to cut too short. Then the tying began.
We started with a cow hitch knot for each cut string. We placed the knots at North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, and Northwest. Then we parted the string and double knotted North to Northeast, Northeast to East, East to Southeast, and so on. We continued the knotting pattern in a circle and inward until we reached the center. The final knot merged the strings and wound through a large wooden bead.
The next day we double-knotted three more strings to the bottom of the hibiscus branch. This will serve as the ladder that carries the positive energy from the web to the child. We tied in beads and fake flowers we found at the grandparents’ house, and hung the final piece above my son’s bed.
The final touch was spritzing a touch of diluted lavender essential oil on the hoop. The lavender creates a calm scent that greets my preschooler when he lies down to sleep. We loved making this craft together, and my son’s fear of the dark has eased since we hung this dream catcher over his bed. Acting as a symbol of protection and love, this dream catcher craft for preschoolers is perfect for soothing children as they sleep.
Based in Maryland, Amy is a nature-enthusiast who loves hiking, reading, and creating. With a MFA in painting and university teaching experience, she loves combining visual art and nature to create crafty and play-based learning experiences for her preschool-aged son. Extra crafts and fine art can be found on Facebook and Instagram @amyfixart or at www.amyfixart.com.
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