Purls of Wisdom

3 Ways to Make Sure Your Children Get the Most Out of Their Summer

Posted by Laura Kelly on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 @ 04:30 PM

Make Summer Count!

Summer is coming! Kids are cheering and parents are cringing. It’s not that you’re not happy and excited that your children are getting a break from the daily grind of the 9-3 school day. You’d take a summer vacation yourself if you could. But, the summer months bring some challenges with finding the best way to spend it. With the average American (children included) currently spending 17 hours a week on the Internet for personal use, it’s clear that, without some direction, your children could very well end up spending their entire summer vacation connected online.

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While it may be impossible to find something unique and enriching every single day of summer vacation, taking some time to plan out some fun activities will go long a way! Below are some of our favorite ways to make the most of out your children’s summer vacation:

Send Them On a Real Vacation

If you’re planning a summer vacation out of town with your family - awesome! But, if you’re unable to make that happen this year, consider sending them on a vacation by themselves. Scary, we know, but do they have a favorite aunt who lives in driving distance who can welcome them to come spend some time for a few weeks? Grandparents are almost always willing to make a drive to come see their grandchildren and may even able to plan a special road trip covering some cool landmarks.

Find a Fun Summer Camp

Summer camps of all types and sizes are great places for children to spend their summer vacation. With so many options like day camps, overnight camps, and specialty camps, you’ll be able to find the right camp for your family.

If an overnight camp isn’t right for your family, you can consider unique day camp classes for things like theatre, robotics, STEM, handwork, and arts.

Explore the History of Your Town

The last thing your children wants is to have a “school assignment” over the summer, but get them excited about learning the history of their own town! Start by researching how it was founded, any famous former residents and interesting things that have happened. Help your children find ways to uncover even more information about these events and lead the search all the way back to your house. Who built it? Who has lived in it? End the project with having them make a projection of what they think that town will be like in 20 or 50 years.

This is a great opportunity for trips to the library, the records clerk, historical society, and taking trips to historical landmarks. All great ways to stay out of the house!

Summer is busy, just like every other day of the year, but it’s so important to have a plan to keep your children happy and active during their summer vacation. If a summer day camp sounds like it could be the perfect option for your family, check out the handwork classes that we offer!

Want to be sure you have selected the best summer camp? This free checklist gives you the 10 questions you must ask, plus bonus tips and insights. Download Now.

Tags: Summer Camp, Summer

Sewing Camp: 3 Benefits of Attending a Sewing Camp

Posted by Laura Kelly on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 @ 03:30 PM

As a parent today, you have a plethora of summer camps, classes, and programs to help build an enriching and fulfilling summer for your children. With so many different options to choose from and some that you didn’t even know existed (hello, handwork camp!), it’s important that you have a complete understanding of what the individual camps offer.

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Our favorite type of camp is of course handwork! Sewing camp is a unique opportunity for your children to not only learn a historically important life-skill, but also explore areas of their creativity that other outlets can’t offer. Here are three more benefits of choosing a sewing camp for your kids this summer:

A Step Back From Technology

If technology is the way of the future and the future is now, it makes sense that our children are more tech-savvy than could ever hope to be. They’re growing up in a world without VHS, landlines, and phone books. It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.

But, with all types of progress, it’s important that we still hold dear the foundations of our past. Children (and adults) are building beautiful things with the use of computers, but they can also build equally beautiful things with their hands. Sewing camp isn’t about stitching a straight line; it’s teaching children that with planning, dedication, practice, and a little bit of luck that their straight line will become part of something bigger. A dress, doll, hat, scarf, bag. Reminding children that they are powerful is something that sewing camp does oh, so very well.

A Unique Creative Platform

Creativity is unique experience for everyone. No one on earth will experience the thrill of creation the exact same way. Allowing your creative child to explore multiple platforms to express their own creativity gives them the ability to hone in on what they love most about creating and in which way they love to do it.

Sewing camp goes beyond a pattern and fabric, it opens the possibilities of unique expression through giving children the freedom to create their own clothes, accessories, gifts, etc.

A Whole Lot of Fun!

Last, but never least, sewing camp is fun! What’s the point of spending an entire summer in a camp that is boring, unengaging, or worst downright miserable!?! Sewing machines, professional tools, reams and reams of fabric, buttons of every shape and sizes, beads, glitter, ribbon and hours of guided creation - what could be more fun than that?

Choosing through the many options of camp classes and schedules might seem overwhelming, but having the understanding of what each type offers is the first step. Interested in finding a sewing camp near you? The Handwork Studio offers Summer Camp in 10 states plus Winter Break, Spring Break, classes, parties, Girl Scout visits and Workshops in Narberth, PA! To find a camp near you that offers one of our classesvisit our Locations page!

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Tags: Sewing, camp, Fashion & Machine Sewing

Teaching Kids To Sew: Why It's Important and How To Do It

Posted by Laura Kelly on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 @ 05:30 PM

When you think of the life skills that you want your children to have before they leave your home, you might have a list that looks something like this: balance a checkbook, understand proper budgeting, be able to cook a decent (and hopefully healthy) meal, change a tire on the side of the road, and with any luck, prepare their own taxes. One thing that’s not common to see is handworking skills.

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Generations ago, it was not only common but required that children learned the art of sewing and knitting. Clothes were made from hand; hats and mittens were crafted in living rooms not factories. While your child will rarely need to create his or her own wardrobe from a bolt of fabric and a spool of thread, there are real benefits to investing the time and resources to teaching your child the trick of the handwork art.

Besides the obvious benefit of being able to sew on a wayward button, hem a new pair of pants, or even craft a new baby gift, handwork provides your children with a creative way to:

  • develop and mature their finger dexterity and fine motor skills
  • find and build their self-confidence
  • learn copious amounts of patience (Have you ever tried to trace a pattern!?!?)
  • have a social creative outlet for meeting and gathering with friends

You’re on board: your child should learn how to sew. But, how? Do they even offer sewing classes for kids? Of course! And you have a few viable options when it comes to expanding your child’s knowledge of sewing (one of which is very close to home!).

A Local Craft Store

Your local craft store is a one-stop-shop for all things crafts, including sewing. It’s a great place to first introduce your children to the nearly limitless projects they’ll be able to create when they’ve begun to sew. Many stores offer sewing classes for kids, in addition to other crafting classes such as cake decorating, hodgepodge, embroidery, and machine sewing.

These classes are usually an hour or so long and provide enough direction for your children to find interest in the subject.

At Home

Did you learn to sew in Home Ec. class or under the watchful eye of your grandmother? If you, yourself, have a skill and interest (or past interest) in handwork, use that to help foster the same passion for your children!

Choosing to impart your own handwork skill onto your children will take a lot of patience, time and resources (think sewing machine, fabric, pins, scissors, patterns, chalk, etc.), but if you already have the tools, pull them out and get started! Together, select a small project to complete and work through each step, discussing why it’s done in that order and why it’s important to do each process carefully.

With the Experts

You’ve done it, you’ve sparked a passion for handwork in your child. You see their eyes light up at the thought of making something magical out of bits of fabric and beads. They’re ready for more than a local class or sewing along side you - now it’s time for you to consider registering them for a handwork class designed just for them!

Handwork Studios, like ours, are devoted to capturing the importance of handwork and sharing it with the next generation. We offer fun, creative, and unique classes, workshops, and even summer day camps for children 5 through 15! Each student of The Handwork Studio owns their own creative direction, and we provide the professional tools and instruction for them to explore their own limits and abilities. Unlike classes in your local craft store that offer an hour or two of instruction to create a project, The Handwork Studio creates a curriculum that grows with your child building on skills over time.

Interested in learning more about The Handwork Studio’s classes and camps? Search for a location near you!

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Tags: Classes

Overnight vs. Day Camp: Which Is Best For Your Family?

Posted by Laura Kelly on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 @ 05:30 PM

Choosing the Right Camp For Your Family

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The summer may be your child’s favorite time of year, but it could easily turn into a logistical nightmare for you. Many parents have found that summer camps are a great option for providing an enriching, challenging, and purposeful summer break. Whether you’re a veteran or a first-time camp parent, it’s always an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Choosing the right camp can be the difference between a flawless summer and the longest twelve weeks of your life. 

With many different types of camps to choose from, we’re going to help you narrow down the biggest deciding factor. Camps generally fall into two distinct types: day camps and overnight camps. The difference between them may be obvious, but the nature and benefits of each may not be.

Day Camps

As their names suggest, day camps are camps that are operated for a set amount of daily hours. Campers are either transported by bus or dropped off by their parents each morning and picked up at the close of camp. The ages of campers average between 3 and 15.

Day camps provide all the expected activities of a ‘traditional’ overnight camp, but allow parents daily interaction with their children. These types of camps are perfect for younger and first-time campers, who may not be ready to leave the comfort of their parents for an extended amount of time.

Things to Consider

  • Day camps require more time investments from parents than overnight camps. Be sure that you’re prepared for the daily pick-up/drop-off that comes with day camps, and packing lunch. Relatives, car-pooling, and any offered bus transportation are all ways to ensure that your children are able to get to camp each day.
  • If you’re considering sending your children to an overnight camp in the next few years, enroll them into a day camp to help them get used to the idea of camp life. They may not stay around the clock, but it would be much less intimidating to go leave for overnight camp if they have a foundation of what to expect.

Overnight Camps

Overnight camps are typically what come to mind when discussing summer camp. From popular culture to your own firsthand knowledge, summer camp has established itself as a memorable experience, and many parents want to provide such an experience to their children. Overnight camps generally see campers between the ages of 6 and 17. They can range from just a few weeks to up to the entire summer (8 weeks).

Campers who are ready for overnight camp have proven to mom and dad that they are mature enough to spend a night or two away from their parents without too many tears. Homesickness is always expected and comforted, but overnight camps may be too much distance for too long for some children.

Things to Consider

  • With little transportation needed during the camp session, you’ll be able to consider camp locations that exceed the distance you would if you were looking at day camps.
  • Overnight camps provide an excellent environment for children to identify, explore, build their independence. As children become teenagers, many parents have found comfort in preparing their soon-to-be graduates for college life (a.k.a. daily life without mom and/or dad).

So, Which is Best?

Choosing the right type of camp for your family doesn’t have a cut and dry answer. Take some time to review how much time you’re able to invest in the transportation of your children to and from camp and how ready your children are to spend a considerable amount of time away from you. With those two questions answered, you should have a clear next step!

The Handwork Studio is a kids' needle arts, machine sewing and fashion camp. Our purpose is to pass down the tradition of teaching practical arts such as knitting, weaving, hand and machine sewing, embroidery, quilting, fashion and crafts in a fun and relaxed environment. We’re an alternative arts camp for girls and boys.

We are proud to offer our classes in over 40+ locations and 10 States. Interested in finding a location that offers our classes? Visit our locations page to search for a camp near you!


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Tags: Summer Camp

3 Unexpected Things Your Child Can Learn At Camp!

Posted by Laura Kelly on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 @ 01:30 PM

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Summer camp. If your mind is filled with visions of campfires, spooky stories, and rope climbing, you’re missing out on half the fun of today’s camps! Though the staples of friendships, building independence, and the promise of adventure are still the core of the summer camp, parents today now have the ability to find niché camp offerings that not only provide the traditional camp experience, but also unique classes and programs. Here are three of our favorite classes found at summer camps:

1. Robotics, Engineering, and Technology Courses

With today’s technology-driven world and increasing focus on STEM curricula, it’s no surprise that many of our children will find their passion in robotics, engineering, or technology. Summer camps are offering their campers the ability to dive feet first into the word of robotics and the logic and systems that the engineers of tomorrow are using to build our future.

These courses are perfect for children who are exploring how technology shapes our world and what a career in science, technology, engineering, and math would look like for them.

2. Theatre Performance Classes

Beyond school plays and the local performance theater, your thespian should be enrolling in a summer camp that offers theatre-focused classes. For a budding actress or actor, having the opportunity to refine his or her craft with a group of like-minded friends is invaluable. These summer camp classes provide support, insight, and direction for a camper who seeks to turn creative expression into a career. Or for the campers who simply have a flair for dramatic arts, it’s a positive outlet to channel that creativity.

3. Fashion Art & Handwork Classes

You had to expect that one of our favorite class offerings would be handwork! Yes, handwork. Much like the concept of summer camps, if you’re envisioning a row of silent children knitting scarfs then you’re missing out! Our classes offer campers an insight into the creative and ever-evolving world of fashion art and needle arts. Our fashion camp, for instance, is a favorite of the young fashion designer who dreams of designing and creating their own clothing line. We offer the creative camper a new medium to express themselves. Whether it’s quilting, weaving, hand or machine sewing, or knitting, we’re passionate about bringing a beautiful art form to our campers.

Searching for that perfect summer camp for your children and interested in finding a camp that offers our unique handworking classes? Visit our locations page and search for a camp near you!

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Tags: Summer Camp