Easy Nature Activity for Kids: Yarn Nest Weaving

By freshlyplanted - 9:00 AM

Inside: This nest weaving is a fun nature activity for kids. Coiled yarn bowls are a great art project for elementary and middle school students, and multi-age homeschool settings.

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids

They raced up and down the tree trunk, holding sticks & leaves in their mouths. 

Placing one here, tucking another carefully there. 

Busy with their work, they didn't notice the row of little heads at the window. Or the eager hands pressed up against the glass. 

"Look, Mama!" our kids joyfully shouted, "The squirrels are building a nest!"

A nest that just happened to be right outside our living room window. 

The Fascination of Nests

Whether you're a human or a squirrel, nests take up a time. This interest in creating a home is universal- just consider the camera crews documenting fancy houses all over the world. From five-car garages to frigs filled with champagne & cold pizza. 

But nothing spells survival more than a nest. 

During cold weather, leaky houses can use electric heaters, overworked furnaces & woodstoves to make it more bearable. Their occupants can boil water for hot cocoa or concoct large vats of hot soup. 

But animals don't have these luxuries. Their nests have to be right the first time- warm for the winter and strong enough to withstand destructive toddlers

(Something that all the species have in common!) 

Nest-Building for Kids

All good houses and nests begin with a framework, then grow from there. Humans usually create their own framework (but not always) while animals use what's already available. 

Our backyard squirrels used a fork in the tree to strengthen their nest against strong winds.

To learn more about nests, we visited the library. There are so many great books! We were drawn to "nest" by Jorey Hurley. Even our oldest kid, a strong reader, was captivated by it. Each beautifully illustrated page only holds one verb, leaving lots of room for story-telling

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids
Baby Robins are  ready to leave the nest when they're about 13 days old.

And then we began creating our own nests. Weaving's been popular in our house this winter, so our kids were excited to learn how to weave with rope. It's easy! 

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Project

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  • Cotton rope
  • Yarn
  • Plastic yarn needles (or metal for older children)


1. Take the end of your rope and double it back on itself to make a loop. 

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids

2. Match your yarn end to the cut end. 

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids

3. Wrap your yarn around itself to cover the loop and cut yarn. 

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids

4. Begin wrapping the yarn around the rope. After every three wraps use your needle to secure your rope to the line before. In this picture, I'm wrapping around the second row of yarn, through the loop in the middle, and back around the second row. 

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids
Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids

These are anchoring stitches that tie your bowl together. In the above picture, my daughter is using an anchor stitch to secure her new rope row to the previous one. 

She's also getting ready to begin building the nest up, by placing new coils on top of the row before. This will make the weaving go up, creating walls for her nest. 

Coiled Yarn Bowl "Nest" Weaving Craft for Kids

Once you're happy with your nest's size, cut the rope then use a few more yarn stitches to secure and cover up the loose end. 

  • Take your time! This is a great project to keep coming back to. Both our third-grader and kindergartner have enjoyed pulling it out during quiet moments or while listening to a podcast/audiobook. 
  • Use plastic needles so you don't have to worry about a needle getting lost/being underfoot with little ones. We tied our yarn on, then cut it off when we needed to. 
  • Give each child an "arm's length" of yarn (the length of their arm) at a time. 
  • Changing yarns: Cut & wrap the old yarn around rope, then wrap new yarn over it to secure it. 
Please let me know if you have any questions or discover more helpful hints. 

Happy Nesting!


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