I learned how to make felt in a fiber arts class during college and when I was asked to teach a week long camp with elementary schoolers focusing on the theme of "going green" I thought it would be a new, fun, and, most importantly, easy material for the kids to work with. I find the difficulty to be in what to actually do with the felt once you've made it. It can be a little underwhelming to kids when you show them how to make this thing and then they're like... so now I just take this square of fabric home? I feel like the technique is best utilized in conjunction with another object. I tried three approaches with a group of rowdy eight year olds and thought I would share them here as well.
There are a few different methods for creating felt, but the easiest approach that requires the least amount of materials is definitely wet felting. Your main tool is just warm soapy water, which I think is easy enough to come by. You can apply the wool to a variety of objects and the first I'm going to talk about here are rocks. So yeah I had a bunch of eight year olds create felted rocks and they were all "Wtf is the point of this???" My adult brain was like "Shut up these are freaking adorable ass paperweights... what are you going to do when you attempt to complete some vital paperwork next to an open window?! I bet you'll want an adorable ass paperweight then! Hmm? Oh you're eight and have zero use for office accouterments? Cool, happy Mother's Day to your mom..." Anyway, the technique is simple... just pull apart your yarn (that can be purchased from a variety of distributers on Amazon), place down several perpendicular layers, and wrap your object with them. Place the combination in a nylon stocking and make a knot just above it. Dip the sock in your warm soapy water and agitate the object between your hands almost like you're using it as a bar of soap (more on that later). If you're interested in adding details or patterns to the object remove it from the sock before completely felted, lay down your design, return it to the sock, and continue agitating it. Remember to dip the sock when it begins to dry out between your hands. After about 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your wool layer) remove the object from the sock and allow it to dry. You're done, it's as simple as that.
Despite not fully comprehending the utilitarian purpose of this activity, the kids had a great time playing in the soapy water and working with such tactile materials. For them I think it was more about the activity and less about the end result and that's fine by me, I will gladly give a good home to whatever adorable office supplies they find useless.