Toy repair workshop at Children’s Museum of Manhattan teaches value of reuse

Kids will learn how to reuse their toys as part of the “Art, Artists & You” exhibit.

In an era of cheap chic and disposable consumerism, there’s a comfort in sitting down to patch up a child’s beloved stuffed animal.

Kids will get the chance to learn the craft during a special program at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan this week.

Educators hope the workshops will provide some basic sewing skills while prompting youngsters to think about the value of their toys.

“We can talk to kids about keeping up a healthy lifestyle, which also means recycling and repurposing instead of just giving up on certain things,” said Kevin Nieves, manager of public programs at the museum. “Sometimes kids are tempted to chuck out an old toy when it rips. We want to show them you can fix it and even put some personality into it.”

Kids are urged to bring their own well-worn loves to the museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from July 31 through Aug. 5. They can also take one of the museum’s plush toys in need of some stitching and stuffing.

The Stuffed Animal Repair program is part of the “Art, Artists & You” exhibit that encourages hands-on activities with several artists-in-residence.

Many youngsters may already be familiar with the intricacies of toy repair through the popular Disney Channel television show “Doc McStuffins,” which features a young girl who can bring her inanimate playthings to life and find out what ails them.

Hidden in those fun episodes are life lessons about handling injuries and illnesses.

Nieves said kids also need help learning practical skills, especially since home economics is no longer a required curriculum in many schools.

The program is aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 10, he said. Getting the younger kids to handle plastic needles and pierce certain fabrics also helps refine motor skills.

They can also create small wraps and casts for their fluffy “patients.”

“We have an animal rescue center in the museum,” said Nieves. “Our stuffed animals are used quite a bit and we usually take them into the back and fix them up. We thought it would be interesting to make the kids part of that process.”

Art studio leader Jasmine Ly said she could have used the workshop when she was a kid.

“I had this Beanie Baby dog named Bandit and he went with me everywhere,” said Ly, who will work with children in the program. “He got so messed up, his leg almost fell off, but luckily my grandmother was a seamstress and helped me out.”

Lisa L. Colangelo