"The points to be borne in mind in children's handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not be allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children's work should be kept well within their compass."
(Home Education p. 316)
To me this means that whatever the children are making should be meaningful and practical, at least to them, and not merely busy work or simple papercrafts. While instruction should be careful, as usual, Ms. Mason advocated minimal interference from parents. Just like with books, we are not to get between the child and their endeavors or project. While not every project is going to turn out a masterpiece there will be enough that your child should never wonder what to give for birthday or holiday gifts again. With my kids, I encourage them to make items they want rather than buying them. Want a fancy box to store your crystal in then make one out of materials around the house or garage. Need a shirt for cosplay then modify an old one or make one from fabric in the craft closet. I have to say that my daughter's sock puppets got far more play time than any of her store bought dolls. The various scouting groups can be a great way to learn some of the more practical handicraft skills. Through 4H my girls learned how to make pet care kits, candles, soap and bath salts, how to trim guinea pig nails. When she was a Brownie my youngest learned how to make a sit-upon, a worm farm (sort of like an ant farm) and several other handicrafts that I no longer remember specifically. Even if you don't join a scouting group their activity guides can be great resources for teaching handicrafts at home. Honestly, I don't think there could ever be a complete list of handicrafts. It is a rather all encompassing topic that is only limited by the scope of our child's imagination.
I tend to think of handicrafts in two ways. First, as a recognition of the life skills that were passed down from parent, or grandparent, to child through the generations and unfortunately are often now being lost. The other handicrafts tend to fall under skills that my children may or will need to maintain a household when they are adults; which ranges from common chores to being able to keep your car or computer running (yes this is the modern age).
Weaving: rugs, blankets, baskets, placemats,.
Hand-stitching, cross-stitching and other needlework: doll clothes, clothing, blankets, embellishments
Candlemaking using old or modern techniques
Make corn husk dolls & other toys of the past
Knitting, crocheting, etc.
Fiber preparation: spinning, carding, dying,
Leathercrafting: clothing, jewelry, journals,
Whittling and woodcarving
Soap or cork carving (for the ones to young for other carving)
Woodworking:baskets, boxes, birdhouses, small furniture, thin bookmarks, forts
Beadwork: jewelry, clothing, bookmarks, art
Clay work: pottery, sculpture, bakeware, small housing
Nature crafts: wreaths, picture frames, dried arrangements, fairy houses, sachets
Soft metal tooling: pictures, jewelry, picture frames
Gardening to eat, to attract wildlife, to experiment or to replicate international gardens
Build a terrarium or dish garden
Cooking & Baking
Painting or refinishing furniture
Designing and creating murals for the home
Lapidary work (making gemstone items and jewelry)
Tye-dying, natural dying, batiking
Soapmaking using old or modern techniques
Household tasks such as sweeping, cleaning, laundry, dishwashing, vacuuming
Yardwork such as lawn mowing, building maintenance
Daily animal care
Any type of art production that is child led
Any type of music production that is child led
Learn HTML and other computer languages
Create a website, start a yahoo group
Run a simple online store
Learn to type
Start or help with a small business
Maintain a checkbook or savings account
Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick, Artisan Books, 1998.
KodyGirl's knitting teacher recommended this book. We checked out several kids; knitting books from the library and this one was KG's favorite. She likes how clearly the stitches and steps are explained.
Kids Weaving by Sarah Swett, STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books, 2005.
To me this book seems similar in style to the Kids Knitting book. I especially like that it shows you how to make a variety of looms with (mostly) household materials.
Building Bots: Designing & Building Warrior Robots by William Gurstelle. Chicago review Press.2003. By the author of Backyard Ballistics this book is a must for any fan of battlebots. It walks you through, step by step, how to make your very own battle robot and how to find events to compete in.
Hearts and Trees . This is a blog with a lovely way of doing handicrafts, some science and some art for younger ages. I haven't used it myself but really wish I had known about it when my girls were younger. It is set-up seasonally and seems a good fit for CM.