A felt pear was one of the first projects I attempted after I transitioned from recycled plastic eco-felt to wool blend felt. And what a difference! The countless shades available in wool felt made it easy to choose the perfect pear color and the ease of stitching this project had me sold on using wool in my felt food projects from that point on. Using a wool blend felt in “Pistachio Green” transformed this pear from ordinary to elegant. Wool felt holds stitches better than eco felt, which can degrade quickly if played with aggressively or if the stitching constructing isn’t placed far from the edge of the felt sheet.
This pear requires just a simple process of cutting 6 of the pattern and then carefully stitching each together to form a pear, turning inside out, and stuffing.
The stem is my favorite part of this fruit, it’s non-uniform curve helps it look a little more natural- like a real pear.
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To create a stem like this pear, roll the stem template in your fingers so that it’s almost a tube, but slightly enlarged on one end- like a very moderate cone-type shape. Begin stitching the stem closed starting on the small end and use the security added by the stitches to adjust the degree of spread as you stitch towards the top of the stem.
To keep the stem upright and 3-dimensional, you can stuff it with a few extra bits of felt.
TIP: place a pipecleaner in the stem to create a bendable organic-looking fruit stem.
Or, for a more interactive toy, take a pipe cleaner, cut to double the length of the stem, tri-fold the pipe cleaner back in over itself (to keep the sharp little pipe cleaner core wires from poking out of the toy). A pipe cleaner core stuffed inside your stem will make it possible to create a crooked stem- just like nature often does.
Once stuffed with either felt or pipe cleaner, cut a tiny circle about the size of the opening and use a running stitch around the edge to place the little “cap” over the open end of the stem, to hide the stuffing.
Find more felt food patterns and tutorials via my guide to making felt food toys.
Handicrafts that Matter: Fake Food, Pretend Play, and the Hard work of Growing Up
Pretend play, like that of toddlers preparing fake food in a play kitchen, is really important to helping kids mature social and emotionally. Through pretentd play, t hey put together movements and words to make stories that change and grow far beyond what they had planned. There are direct links between play, learning language, reading, and social skills, and the development of these skills.
Believe it or now, providing fake food for a toddler’s play kitchen can help them…
Grow a bigger Vocabulary
When kids play make-believe, they can use words they might not use very often. Their vocabulary words come from books, TV shows, YouTube, and what they have heard from their teachers, their peers, and their parents. Playing games that take them outside of ordinary life and puts them in the farmer, grocer, chef, barista, or bakery owner help kids learn to use words they’ve picked up.
Children with a larger vocabulary generally learn to read earlier and progress more easily through reading levels.1 Literacy is based on the idea of symbolism, which is the idea that one thing can stand in for another. When a child pretends that a felt pear can stand in for a real pear or that a single felt pear can substitute for a full shopping cart, they are learning about symbolism.
During pretend play, like that in a play kitchen, a child takes on different roles. They might pretend they are a pear farmer, a farmer’s market seller, a chef, or a patron in a restaurant. This helps them not only learn new words and symbols, but also take turns talking, deal with their feelings, be a leader, and negotiate. Whether you’re pretending to be a customer, a farmer, or a waiter you have to change your language and actions to fit the role. Many studies have shown that these social skills and being able to understand feelings are important for making friends early on.2
- Biemiller, A. (2003). Vocabulary: Needed if more children are to read well. Reading psychology, 24(3-4), 323-335.
- Lillard, A. S., Lerner, M. D., Hopkins, E. J., Dore, R. A., Smith, E. D., & Palmquist, C. M. (2013). The impact of pretend play on children’s development: a review of the evidence. Psychological bulletin, 139(1), 1.