Craft group create 'worry monsters' to help reduce stress for kids amid Hamas terror attack

The monsters are designed to ‘eat’ chidren’s worries


London-based craft group The Yarn Sorority is holding a crochet and knit evening to make therapeutic “worry monster” toys to help the children of Israel.

Worry monsters are said to be an effective way to help children suffering with anxiety and stress, used by doctors and therapists in the UK and in other countries. Made with big open mouths, the idea is that they “eat” the children’s worries.

Erika Zerwes, a lecturer on visual culture and history of art, who runs the group, learnt about worry monsters when her partner’s son was recommended by his doctor to use one to help with his anxiety. The experience inspired the project to help Israeli children.

“They are usually recommended for young children with anxiety or experiencing stressful conditions, such as long stays in hospital, especially if the kids are too young for talking therapies,” she explained.

Zerwes, whose partner is part of the 7 10 Human Chain group, which brings visibility to the hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, said: “They can draw or write their worries on a piece of paper, and put the paper inside the monster’s mouth, so it will ‘eat’ the worries.”

The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and Edgware Community Hospital’s Holly Oak Unit for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)are among the medical centres which use worry monsters to complement conventional treatment for their young patients.

The monsters can be easily knitted or crocheted, and the group is inviting members of the community to come together to make them at a London venue in the evening of November 21. Children are welcome to participate, said Zerwes.

“The greatest part of this project is that it is a two-way street,” she said. “The monsters will benefit the children who are in such a stressful situation in Israel, but they can also help the volunteers who are making them. Since the Hamas attacks, we are all grieving. As crochet helped me through some personal griefs, maybe it can help other people as well. It is also another way to bring people together.”

The worry monster has proven a success with her partner’s son, who “loves it”, said Zerwes. “Before going to bed, he puts a lot of papers in there. I believe it helps soothe him before sleep.”

To participate, or to donate money or materials, email:

For all the latest from Israel, click here to see all our coverage.

To sign up to our daily war briefing, click here. 

To listen to our new Israel podcast, click here.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive