7 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Knit or Crochet

7 TipsTeaching children to knit or crochet can be daunting, but these 7 tips are designed make it easy and fun for everyone involved.

Remember the first project you ever made? Teaching a child to knit or crochet is your chance to help them have that special feeling of accomplishment. When children learn to love fiber arts as children, they are much more likely to keep knitting and crocheting for the rest of their lives.

  • When you teach a child to make something out of yarn, you’re teaching them more about the joy of crafting than about how to perform a stitch. The easiest way to teach them to knit or crochet is to show them how to love working with yarn. Then they’ll want to learn more and perfect their skills if they enjoy the process. Stay positive and make the lesson about how fun and creative crafting is.
  • Set the scene: clear space, plenty of supplies and lots of light. Many teachers seat everyone at a table, because then the teacher can see what everyone is doing quickly and easily. Try to have a group of 5 or fewer students per adult if the children are very young so that they can all get the attention they need.
  • Start with simple, solid-color yarn & large, durable tools.Vanna’s Choice is a popular yarn for lessons, since it has great stitch definition and comes in a wide array of colors. You could even teach kids to knit on their fingers or try the crochet ‘finger hook’ method where you use a curled finger instead of a hook.
  • Teaching a craft is also teaching a language; explain what each word means as you use it. Teach as though none of your students have ever heard the word “yarn” before. This may feel silly, but it’s very hard for a child to ask for clarification, especially when they are new to crafting. Listen to them carefully; they may be asking simple questions using unconventional words.
  • Teach them to start, rip back, and start over again. It’s easy for a beginner to forget how they started by the time they finish. Encourage your students to make their first row, rip it all out, and then make it again. If you give them just a few yards to start with they will have to stop and rip back if they want to keep practicing.
  • Let kids be creative with what they have learned. Make small balls in different colors before hand and once your students have mastered basic stitches let them choose the color they’d like to work with. If they are making their first swatches, you can let them choose how many stitches to cast on or chain (just remind them it should be a number larger than 4; narrower projects are difficult for small fingers).
  • Show them that you are proud of their work, and they will be proud of it too. When you teach kids, they will look up to you as the person who knows what good projects look like. There are many ways to show them that you're proud of them; get creative! You could take a picture of each child with their first stitches, swatches and projects and make an album for the class, or you could have a fashion show of their new and very simple projects at the end of your class. Even a chain or a row or two of knitting can be a project; try turning them into necklaces, hair ties, bracelets or even shoelaces.

Many teachers have their own special tips for teaching children to craft with yarn. Share your secrets for helping kids get started in the comments section below!

Related links:

 

Tagged In:
  • Regula Bartholdi

    You don't have to rip the beginnings. It might be a bit frustrating. Glue the beginnings on a drawing, because they are slightly curly, they make nice folwers or snails, whatever. What's more, the children can change colours and use each colour they want. I think this is not a waste of yarn at all.

  • http://make-handmade.com/2012/02/16/7-tips-for-teaching-kids-how-to-knit-or-crochet/ 7 tips for teaching kids how to knit or crochet | make handmade, crochet, craft

    [...] patience. The gift of teaching kids how to knit or crochet, though, is hugely rewarding. Check out these tips from our friends at Lion Brand Yarn, and make the most of your efforts to bring kiddos over to the Craft Side. source: [...]

  • Melissa

    At what age would you recommend trying to teach a child to knit? 

  • Aruilos

    I have a 4 year old I'm teaching to crochet.  He loves it.

  • Melissa

    That is wonderful!  My daughter will be three this summer.  She might be too young to knit or crochet, but perhaps I should start doing other yarn crafts with her to prep her! 

  • Katie Weiher

    I've taught a few classes of 8-10 year old kids how to knit and I only teach the knit stitch.  Casting on makes so much more sense once the knit stitch is learned.

  • Cadence

    The best advice their is for teaching someone to crochet is: teach them how, then teach them rules. People learn way better when they jump into things and then learn the rules later. When I was taught how to crochet, I was taught how to make a chain and a sc. I was not taught anythings about gauge, hook sizes, or stitch count. Trust me, the best way to learn without frustration. This technique is also true for learning languages.

  • Emily Katehis

    I learned when I was about 5, I still have my first project, a baby bunting.  I've noticed something with kids these days, their fine motor skills are terrible.  I could write all three of my names by my sons age (5), as well as do counted cross stitch, do both knit and purl stitches and cast on and bind off, do loop pot holders, and lanyard key chains.  I teach preschoolers now, and while they can play video games on computers, cell phones and gameboys, they can't write the first letter of their names.  My sister who is 16 is the same, my mom tried to teach her to knit, and she can't, why?  Because she grew up on electronics instead of coloring books.  It's sad.  I'm trying to teach my son to knit now, I bought the Lion Brand kids needles and a knitting spool, but he doesn't have the patience for it.  We're heading into the Jetsons age, where all you have to do is push a button and it gets done, this is not good, we need to keep hand work alive.

  • kdee

    I've taught students how to knit at my elementary school.  Students as young as 7 and as old as 12 have joined the knitting club.  I've found that beginning knitters find it way easier to handle using 2 double-pointed needles with elastic bands on the ends (to prevent stitches from falling off the end).  DPNs seems to be a better size for smaller hands.  Once they felt comfortable after knitting for a few months, many were able to "graduate" to regular needles.  Hope that helps someone!

  • Cosmo1

    don't expect perfection  - as cadence said, leave the rules until later on. The most important thing for them to learn is the enthusiasm for creating with their own hands. The best thing is encouragement & smiles!

  • gma7

    I am teaching a 7 yr old to crochet.She is very patient but is having a hard time keeping the yard tight on her left hand as she crochets with her right. It gets very loose and she is getting frustrated and wants to stop. Any suggestions as to how to keep the yard tight.
     I am also teaching a left hander. wow what a challange. lol

  • Karen Walker

    How can I learn to crochet?  I've been dying to learn, but haven't really found a good "teacher" since none of my local friends know how to.  Are there any resources for beginner moms?  Maybe my girls and I could learn together

  • Sumkoolskool

    I just taught a group of 17! Ranging in ages from 5 up to adults. It was difficult due to the class size. But for the kids, I agree, they don't care about the guage etc.(I've been crocheting for 30 years and I still don't do guage!) The kids needed a nice soft yarn that wasn't going to catch, and then away they went! Some caught on, others did not. They were excited to keep at it when they knew they would be making a project fairly quickly instead of just learning stitches. Our goal was to make hats for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. 

  • http://make-handmade.com/2012/02/16/7-tips-teaching-kids-knit-crochet/ 7 tips for teaching kids how to knit or crochet | make handmade, crochet, craft

    [...] patience. The gift of teaching kids how to knit or crochet, though, is hugely rewarding. Check out these tips from our friends at Lion Brand Yarn, and make the most of your efforts to bring kiddos over to the Craft Side. source: [...]

  • Zenia

    I've taught dozens ( yes dozens) of girls & boys to knit.
    The shorter the needle the better.  No longer than 8 inches.
    Needles also shouldn't be too thick. No thicker than size 8. They are too hard for little hands to manipulate.  Some kids who have trouble even with short needles do wonderfully with a small pair of circular needles.  Start with "plain" yarn - no fuzzy, bumpy, eyelashy yarn.
    However variegated yarn makes stitch definition very easy, and really helps keep from dropping stitches. It also keeps it from geeting too boring.
    Cotton yarn  has no stretch and can be difficult to work with.
    My girl scout troop has made knitting needles out of disposable chopsticks. (you can also use wooden dowels)
    We sharpen the ends a bit with a pencil sharpener, then sand the whole needle with sandpaper until smooth.
    Then you can top them off with either a bead glued on the end, or just a pencil top eraser.
    They usually end up being about a size 5 or 6 needle.

  • Carol

    If kids are interested in what you are doing they are ready to learn. I was 5 or 6. Start with small steps. I first learned only to pass stitches from the left needle to the right needle and I was really proud to be "knitting". (Bless my mom who secretly knitted a few rows here and there so my knitting was getting longer and longer!) Then I realized mom was doing something that I wasn't, so I asked her to show me. I quickly learned how to complete the stitch. From there it was learning to purl and then to cast on. The rules came later. 

  • ELSIE HART

    I have an eight year old granddaughter who is ADHD and a southpaw.  I am right-handed.  She is enthusiastic to learn (despite having a rather short attention span) and I don't know how to teach her.  Her family makes up shoe box presents for less fortunate children at Christmas.  What would be a really simple project we could make together for these boxes?  I am thinking that it may be easier to get her crocheting.  What do you think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/liilliant Liillian Tremblay

    My eldest grandson saw my knitting and asked me how to knit.  I showed him but I could see it wasn't really an attention getter so I switched him to crochet.  He loved it!!!  I let him take home a ball of yarn and hook.  He finished the ball of yarn by bedtime!  Now every time he comes over - he starts another project (new stitches) with me.  Any suggestions for projects that would keep the interest of a 10 year old?  He has made a doll cover for his sister's dolls.  His sister who is 3 has shown no interest - his brother who is 5 asked and I started to show him but I only received a look of disbelief and it,s ok grandma you can do it with JJ! LOL!  The 5 year old likes doing macramé better!  Each child is different, so we try to find an interesting craft for each. Once I've mastered finger crochet - maybe I can show them!!

  • Constantlyknitting

    Also try spool knitting (aka French knitting, knitting dolly) - get the child started by doing the first few rows yourself, with the tail hanging down the bottom so the knitting soon appears.  We made yards and yards of this, and I seem to remember my Grammy sewing it up to make a carpet for a doll's house.  It's good for showing the basics. 
    Then on to needles and 4" squares, sew them up to make an afghan.  The one I made when I was a child (starting age 8) eventually became the best friend of my mother's favorite dog. 

  • http://blog.lionbrand.com/2012/06/18/dress-up-a-hair-tie-make-a-diy-no-sew-scrunchy/ Make a Fabulous Hair Scrunchy with No Sewing! | Lion Brand Notebook

    [...] 7 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Knit or Crochet [...]

  • sanfitch

    I worked with a group of third graders last year at my local elementary school. We had just 1/2 during lunch. The original goal was to work up to five kids who needed some extra attention. We ended up working with nearly every third grade student at least once during the year. Most learned only how to make a chain... we didn't have time for much more. The Aide I worked with took all the chains, laid them out on two large cardboard cutouts of a boy and girl. It was great to see the kids identify "their" contribution to the artwork. Several of the kids have taken up crochet with the help of either a parent or grandparent or scout leader. I'm looking forward to starting back this year with an after school program.

  • Shalva Seri

    Can you suggest easy projects for 11 year old begginers in crocheting and knitting other than a scarf

  • tiffany tran 234964

    that was huh? did it tell us how to knit or NOT???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://margaretdunham.writersfolio.com/7-tips-for-teaching-kids-how-to-knit-or-crochet/ 7 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Knit or Crochet | MargaretDunhamMargaretDunham

    […] 7 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Knit or Crochet […]

  • Mayalah Millers

    I like the notes, but instead of telling people how to teach kids how to knit, you can make a website on teaching everyone that would go on it to knit.