Actually, I have no idea if they help learn anything. But I thought they were cute and an easy enough project to try. Besides, I had all the supplies on hand, even the beads.
If you've been around here a little, you will know that my boys prefer cats and fish. Now, sewing cats sounded difficult. Fish on the other hand...
Drawing is not one of my strong points, and neither is patience. So I found myself a nice fish template, scaled and printed it and cut it out of the legs of an old pair of jeans, adding some seam allowance. So far, so easy. Then I decided to sew on button eyes before sewing the two parts together, which turned out to be a good idea (provided you place them a little lower than you think they should go, as you have to factor in the seam allowance).
Next, I strung 20 wooden beads on some thin satin ribbon, using always five beads in the same color. Placing the two fish right sides together, with the beads sandwiched in-between, I sewed around as close to the edge as I could. Word of advice: if you end up sewing a fish, don't leave the tail end open. I did the first time, and since the fish is at its smallest right before the tail, it was a nightmare to turn and even worse, close that opening. The next two I left the lower part of the belly open, which worked much better.
Still nowhere near a professional result and no, I don't have any good explanation of why fish would be pulling 20 beads behind them, but hey. They're cute, they're sort of educational and they make nice enough gifts for the first day of school.
At least if you package them with cellophane bags, some fish stamped paper and leftover streamers from little brother's last birthday party. Oh, and did I mention they were free?