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Wednesday 18 March 2020

How to make Needle Felted Number Hearts for Loose Parts

Needle felted loose parts are a lovely tactile resource for children to use within their play. These rainbow felted hearts with numbers 1-10 are great when used alongside numicon and other natural resources and loose parts on a play tray - adding in another sensory element with different textures and weights. They are SO easy to make, simultaneously calming and stress busting as you focus on producing something achievable with a repetitive stabbing movement to get rid of any internal angst!

needle felt rainbow hearts with numbers to ten on a wooden tuff tray with numicon and loose parts

This blog post will give you some step by step images and instructions for how to make your own needle felted hearts, as well as an accompanying video to demonstrate and a list of resources you will need in order to make your own felt hearts with numbers...

How to make Needle Felted Number Hearts for Loose Parts 

needle felt rainbow hearts with numbers to ten on a wooden tuff tray with numicon, number stones, rainbow wooden discs and loose parts

To make needle felted hearts, you will need:

(NB some of these links are affiliate links, which will not cost you any more to buy but I may earn commission on qualifying purchases) 

Would you like to watch a quick step by step video of how to make these needle felt hearts first? 

If you would like more info on the desk shown, pop over to my blog post: ikea flisat skadis pegboard desk hack)

How to make rainbow needle felt hearts with numbers

resources for beginners to make needle felted hearts

First of all, choose your template shape and roving wool colour. Place the template onto the sponge foam.

Roll up your roving wool to the size of the space you are fitting it into and then place it inside your template. Push down.

Start to 'needle' the roving wool straight up and down, using a barbed needle. Do this continuously all over - you will start to see the wool becoming more compact and less fluffy...

step by step to make needle felted hearts placing the roving wool in the template

Once you have spent a good amount of time needling one side, remove the template and carefully peel the wool away from the sponge foam, using the needle to help.

Turn the heart over and place it back inside the template.

Start to needle the other side using the continuous up and down method as before.

step by step to make needle felted hearts turning the heart over after needling

Once your heart looks and feel compact you may remove it from the template to work on the edges.

Needle straight into the kiss of the heart first, to define the dip properly, followed by the edges. To create a more rounded, 3D shape to your heart, needle around the edges at a 45 degree angle...

step by step to make needle felted hearts  removing the heart fro the template and needling the edges

Check your felted heart is firm in all areas using your barbed needle. If you wish to add numbers, use a thin twine of roving wool and carefully needle it into your felted heart. You can keep adding extra wool on top to make your numbers more noticeable...

step by step to make needle felted hearts  adding the numbers


Congratulations, you have now made numbered felted hearts. 

If you can cope with the hearts but the numbers are a step too far, why not cheat with these squirty fabric paints instead? 

Of course you could always skip the needle felting and buy the felted hearts online here instead, if you want to use them for loose parts play.

How can you use needle felted number hearts in play?

rainbow needle felted hearts with numbers

As a simple numberline - challenge your child to order the numbers correctly ( the rainbow colours should help!) and then count them using 1:1 correspondence. Once you have modelled this for them, they will probably attempt to try this for themselves during open ended play....

needle felted number hearts next to numbered peg pot people

Number matching - when used alongside other numbered loose parts such as these peg pots, younger children are able to attempt to correctly group and match the same numbers with each other...

natural wooden tuff tray with needle felt hearts, numicon, number stones and painted wooden discs

Number recognition and counting - when used alongside numicon, the challenge is increased as children count the numicon holes to find out which number it is and then match that number to the correct heart (or stone).

number activity natural wooden tuff tray with needle felted hearts

Having these hearts available for children to choose independently during child-led, open ended play without a pre-determined learning outcome can naturally lead to number work as children may count the items in and out of a pot, or whilst sharing during small world play. 

Here are some other ideas for using DIY felted hearts:

Transient art
small world play
sorting and matching
size ordering
weights and measures
role play shop play
fine motor skills
self registration
kindness tokens
sensory play
within heuristic play
scooping, filling and pouring

(Let me know if you have any other ideas and I will add them to the list!)

If you're looking for more play ideas to keep you occupied whilst at home, why not have a look at my post ' 60+ play ideas for when you're stuck at home', or, 19 tuff tray ideas for open ended play.  Don't forget to follow me on facebook and instagram to keep up to date with my latest daily play activities. 

More home made project ideas here:

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how to make rainbow numbered felted hearts for loose parts play

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