For 16 years, Poekies (a stuffed animal toy) have introduced various hand-sewing techniques to thousands of children in Marin County. Our camp teaches hand-sewing (beginning to advanced), beading, and other arts and crafts, for children age 6 and up.
The physical benefits of hand-sewing are obvious, it improves manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. But the children also learn patience and the value of precision. Comparing a perfectly sewn Poekie and a not-so-perfect one, is like looking at “pretty and sweet” versus “scruffy and sweet.” Both are adorable but every child sees the difference and eagerly takes the challenge to reach that perfection. Children also learn to think in three dimensions. Through their hands and their eyes they experience how a few two-dimensional pieces become a three dimensional sculpture.
WHERE: 247 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley
WHEN: Drop in sessions available from June 19-August 22, from 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
AGES: Ages 6 and up
ACTIVITIES: Starting with easy, beginning animals, students sew their way up to advanced Poekie animals. Students are free to choose their projects depending on experience and ability.
COST: $280/20 hours; $170/10 hours; $20/1 hour. Maximum charge is $420 per week.
DETAILS: Poekie toys were designed right here in Mill Valley. There are currently about 60 different animals in several sizes. They are also popular, inspiring kids to create their own play-world. Over 20,000 have been made and many received awards at the Marin County Fair. Poekies are a wholesome alternative to pre-made toys, fostering manual dexterity and imagination, and giving an opportunity to explore a sensitive social life.
My Story About Poekie Nook
By Colette Kennedy, grade 8, Mill Valley Middle School
I started going to the Poekie nook when I was in second grade and I will always remember my favorite part about going was always the excitement of bringing something new home and starting another project. The possibilities of what I could make were endless, and to an 8-year-old, that was pretty fantastic. I remember when I got the okay to make my first Poekie. I was so, so excited and I was literally jumping up and down, waiting for the moment I had been dreaming of since I started. After that, I was on a roll. There was so much to make, I thought I almost made them all. Elephants, bunnies, gnomes, frogs, dinosaurs, penguins, giraffes, birds of all kinds, pandas, dragons, raccoons, and most of all, koalas.
After a while, as I got better and better at sewing, I started making them at home. And, when my birthday rolled around, I loved koalas so much, I ended up making 20 of them as party favors. Then, I moved onto Mama Poekies, the biggest ones, that took up to six hours to sew and completely took over my room. And then there were Candy Poekies. A little bit bigger than a Twix bar, they were the definition of a great Poekie maker. Not long after that, I was in 6th grade and I was ready to become the holy grail of the Poekie Nook. A helper.