This DIY calico corn soft toy only takes a few simple supplies, comes together quickly, and is fantastic for fine motor-skill and pattern-making practice! Adding closure snaps, velcro or ties is an easy way to throw in some practical life skill practice too! I love that these colorful ears of corn can be reused over and over again, and their soft pieces make them easy to fold up into a bag, purse, or car seat pocket. It’s also a great companion project to our colorful DIY felt counting tree or DIY felt turkey sorting activity.
To make your own felt calico corn you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- A needle and thread (if you’d prefer to sew it together instead of using glue)
- Snaps, no-snag velcro or buttons (to add to the “husks” for full closure and further motor practice – we skipped it for this example)
NOTE: We wanted to use felt to create something that would hold up to small hands and be reusable – but if you’d rather not mess with fabrics, you can follow these same instructions using paper instead.
Felt Calico Corn Weaving Soft Toy Instructions:
- Print and cut out our felt calico corn template
Download, print and cut out our corn and weaving strip template (be sure to select “borderless printing” in your printing options) or freehand and create your own corn-shape.
- Pick out your felt calico corn color palette
Pick 3 colors of
feltfor your corn cob – there will be a backing piece, a “corn” piece for weaving in the middle, and a husk piece on top. Cut out all your corn pieces and set them aside. Now pick 2 or more felt colors to use as your weaving strips – we’re going to make these look like the Indian corn kernels, so we chose bright colors just for fun.
- Cut corn layers and weaving strips from felt
Cut your 3 corn layers and at least 7 weaving strips total from your felt pieces. More colors and strips will give your kiddo lots of fun options for weaving!
- Cut weaving slits into your felt corn
Lay your paper template over your middle corn piece – we’re going to cut the weaving slits. Fold the felt (with the paper cut template stacked on top) in half and cut along the dotted lines. If you’d prefer, you can just freehand this, but the template makes it a bit easier to get equally spaced lines.
- Glue a back to your corn felt piece
Apply a line of fabric glue along the top and bottom of your corn’s “back” piece. Put your middle piece directly on top, lining up the edges and pressing down on the bottom firmly to adhere the two pieces.
- Cut your “husk” felt piece in half
While giving your fabric glue a minute or two to set up, grab your top “husk” piece and cut it in half lengthwise.
- Glue your felt “husk” to the front of your felt corn at bottom
Apply another thin layer of glue to the bottom of your middle “corn” piece – place your “husks” directly on top, lining up the edges carefully, and press down on the bottom again to help the glue adhere. Let dry for at least 15 minutes (dependent on the type of glue you’re using).
If you would like something that will withstand rougher use, you can use a needle and thread to sew a straight line across the bottom, permanently attaching the 3 pieces together. You can also glue/sew small pieces of velcro to the bottoms of each piece so the corn can be completely taken apart and put back together.
Your corn is ready to be woven! Place groups of colored-strips out and let your kids experiment with different combinations of colors and patterns!
This wonderfully quiet fall activity for kids encourages kids to experiment with color and pattern creation, while also promoting hand-eye coordination and patience-building, fall-themed fine motor skill play.
Adding snaps or velcro to encourage kids to shuck their corn also adds a bit of practical life skill learning and investigation into the growth cycle and anatomy of corn.
For teachers or parents interested in putting together a full theme exploring locally grown food, pair this activity with our DIY vegetable-stamped tote bags, DIY cardboard market food, or plant a mini playdough vegetable garden!
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!