At-Home Learning

For students who want to learn more at home, the International Quilt Museum offers these lessons and activities for elementary-age children. We will update this page with new materials as they become available.

We also have a number of coloring and activity sheets that can be downloaded and printed.

You can also view an archive of our Virtual Storytimes, broadcast on Facebook, by clicking here.

Free Downloads

Lesson 1: What is a Quilt?

Lesson 1: What is a Quilt?
Lesson 1: What is a Quilt?

Age level: K-5

For this activity, you will need: 
1) Fabric around your house.
2) Your favorite writing instrument.
3) A piece of paper.

What is a quilt? 

Is a quilt a blanket? Is it something you wear? Is it art? Does it tell stories? 

The answer to all of these questions is yes! A quilt is a blanket. It is something you wear. It is art. It can tell stories.

So what makes a quilt a quilt? Watch this video to see:

click here to watch the video

Now that you know what makes a quilt a quilt, do you have any quilts at your house? Let's go on a Quilt Scavenger Hunt!

With help from a grown-up, find blankets, clothes, and other things made out of cloth. Once you have them, put them into three piles. The first pile is “Yes, this is a quilt.” The second pile is, “This may be a quilt." The third is “No, this not a quilt.” 

Once you make your piles, use a paper and pencil to write why you think something is or is not a quilt. Then, look at your “maybe” pile and write down why you think it could be a quilt and why it might not be a quilt. Share your answers with a family member or friend.

Lesson 2: Be a Curator!

Lesson 2: Be a Curator!
Lesson 2: Be a Curator!

Age level: K-5

For this activity, you will need: 

  1. A quilt or blanket
  2. Your favorite writing instrument
  3. A piece of paper
  4. A camera
  5. An audience

Curators have many jobs at a museum. They pick out the pieces of a collection. They take care of the collection. And, they decide which objects to put in exhibitions. 

This is what that looks like at the International Quilt Museum:

Click here to watch video

After curators pick out pieces for an exhibit, they write labels for visitors to read. 

For example, this is one of our exhibitions at the International Quilt Museum. It is a group of quilts made by an artist named Rumi O’Brien. This is what the exhibition looks like:

Click here to watch the video

Rumi O’Brien makes quilts that tell stories. When she wrote the labels for the quilts, the curator shared some of those stories.

This is what one of the labels looks like:

One Spring Day in a Canoe
Madison, Wisconsin
Collection of the Artist 

“I was a hard worker—in the house, in the garden—and I did all sorts of handiwork like sewing, spinning, and knitting. If my husband suggested going somewhere, I would prefer to remain in the backyard, which I liked so much. But work can be tiring and so I began thinking it would be nice to put us in a canoe and let the current of Six Mile Creek near our home take us gently along its course. 

“So, I did that. I got a large piece of cloth ready and let the creek meander upon it. From the start, I enjoyed the ride, no frantic catching up with this or that project, but just relaxing and basking in the sun. On each side of the creek the meadows were alive with spring grasses and the returning geese were making merry in small groups. As usual my husband had a book along and was probably oblivious to the surroundings. We usually have coffee and cake around ten o’clock at home, but we couldn’t easily brew coffee in a canoe. The air was warm and the current was gentle. It was really nice, this relaxed canoe ride.”

For some exhibit labels, a curator might share facts about the piece. Like, who made it, when, and where? Does the piece have a name?

A curator may also write what they think about a piece and how it fits with others. This is called interpretation.

For this assignment, you can be a Quilt Curator at home. Pick out a quilt or blanket. Write down the name. You can give it one if it does not have one already. Then, write what you know about it. Last, write what you want people to know or see when they look at the quilt.

When you are done, you can have a grown-up help you share a picture of your quilt and your label with us. We will create an online exhibit of all of your quilts!

For Grown-ups: Send your student’s quilt pictures and labels to [email protected] with the subject “at home quilt exhibit.” Please include your young curator's name and age.

Lesson 3: How Do Quilts Get Their Names?

Lesson 3: How Do Quilts Get Their Names?
Lesson 3: How Do Quilts Get Their Names?

Age level: K-5

Computer/phone to view our website
Piece of paper
Crayons/markers/colored pencils
Sidwalk chalk (optional)

If you look through pictures of quilts on our website, you will see that they have different names. Sometimes a quilt gets its name from the maker.

For example, Jean Ray Laury named this quilt “No Dragon on My Quilt.” It is named after a book she wrote of the same name.

Click here to look at the quilt more closely.

Other times, quilts are named for their pattern. The pattern is the design that is on each block of the quilt. For example, one popular quilt block is called the Log Cabin (click here to see Log Cabin quilts). It looks like logs stacked on top of each other. If you like, you can have a grown-up help you print a coloring sheet of a Log Cabin pattern to try it out for yourself. (Click here)

Let's go on a virtual scavenger hunt! Have a grown-up help you take a look at some of the different pattern names for quilts. Visit the "Search" page (click here). Then, look under the "Pattern/Object Name." Select the name and hit "Search." Then see the pictures that appear. Look for the following quilt blocks:

  • Bear's Paw
  • Cherry Tree
  • Lone Star
  • Sunbonnet Sue
  • Trip Around the World

Which one is your favorite?

Next, recreate your favorite quilt block by drawing it on a piece of paper. Or, if the weather is nice and you have sidewalk chalk, you can draw the block on your sidewalk.

Here are a couple of pictures by one of our friends who designed her own quilt block.

We'd love to see what you make! Have a grown-up send your pictures to [email protected] or tag us on Facebook and Instagram!

Lesson 4: Coming Soon

Lesson 4: Coming Soon
Lesson 4: Coming Soon

Coming Soon!