Our fifth grader wanted to continue our tradition of giving her teachers a homemade gift for Christmas. Finding inspiration in the January/February 2016 edition of American Girl Magazine, she searched through a basket of material scraps in the craft closet and set off to make rice bags that after being placed in the microwave or freezer could be used to help relieve sore muscles.
Winging it with the first rice bag, she modeled the others after it. She decided a pair of 4" x 14" rectangles would do the trick. In addition to this gray polka dot fabric, she used cute prints, including characters like Charlie Brown and Rudolph along with another featuring festive Christmas trees, which were left over from another project.
Using sewing clips, she secured the edges with the right sides of the fabric together. These clips were easy for her to use and remove as she sewed, avoiding pin pricks and the need for assistance from an adult.
She sewed a straight stitch along one 4" and both 14" sides, leaving the other 4" end open.
After turning the sleeve so the right sides of the fabric faced out, she used a skewer to help reveal the sewn corners when they remained tucked in the sleeve. She filled the bag with between 2 and 2 1/4 cups of uncooked, white rice. On occasion, the skewer helped clear the funnel as she poured the rice in the bag.
Prior to this point, we had discussed different ways to finish the bag, and she chose to use the sewing machine to close the open edge of the full bag with a visible straight stitch. Heating and cooling instructions were handwritten on a tag that she attached to the bag with a safety pin.
She completed every step of the project on her own, and she was proud of the accomplishment, especially when her teachers expressed their appreciation for her effort.
I share this project here because she made a bag for me, and I found it to be quite soothing on tight muscles. Not only do these rice bags make great gifts, they are relatively easy and inexpensive to create. Scout troops could put them together and distribute them as part of a service project - recipients could include family members with a loved one in the hospital, residents in assisted living facilities, women in a residential addiction recovery program, or veterans staying in a Fisher House. Get even more creative and combine the project with a badge the troop is interested in earning. Have fun! And thank you for reading.