Teaching knitting to kids and beginners can be a real challenge. Remember when you first learned knitting? All the stitches and techniques are overwhelming and hard to do even with lots of practice. It’s the same thing with kids and beginners who first touched the yarn and needles.
Perhaps you’ve learned knitting because of your mother or grandmother when you’re young. Or you might have picked up the skill by attending a series of classes. It could have been easy or difficult that time. But expect that teaching the skill to beginners (especially the kids) will be a lot tougher.
Why teach knitting to children in the first place?
First, we have to get you motivated in this task. After all, the more reasons (and the stronger they are) you have for doing something, the more likely you’ll do it and follow through. So here are the reasons for teaching knitting to kids:
- Improve fine motor skills (knitting challenges the fine details of moving the hands)
- Improve concentration (well, kids really need to focus just to finish knitting socks)
- Further develop self-esteem (creation can lead to confidence)
- Widen the comfort zone (more skills for children)
- Facilitate creativity (kids can come up of new ways to solve problems on their own)
In other words, knitting has a lot more benefits than expected. It’s a simple and yet productive hobby that can further develop the child’s self-esteem. Also, children will gain additional skills and therefore expand their comfort zone and abilities.
Actually, whether children or adults, they will benefit from learning and practicing knitting. It’s especially the case when it comes to mental health. Knitting can relieve stress and improve focus. It also improves our overall well-being because we’re able to accomplish something tangible (in contrast to always browsing the internet).
When to start teaching the kids?
Ideally, ages 8 and above is the starting point. That’s because younger children still have developing hands. They might not be able to do the proper movements required for knitting. Perhaps lack of stability, motor skills and flexibility might be the reason for this.
For ages 8 and above, they might be able to do the basic stitches and follow through your knitting instructions. They can already manage the needles without much difficulty. In addition, they can readily listen to tips and imitate your movements.
However, the approach might be totally different compared to adults. That’s because children have smaller hands. They’re also easily discouraged and prefer moving on to something else instead of knitting.
That’s why it’s recommended for them to use bulky yarns. The results are fast (even just a few minutes knitting and something tangible is appearing). The kids will then be encouraged which quickly becomes a positive feedback loop. They will do more and hence learn more about knitting different patterns.
Use of thicker needles
Aside from using bulky yarns, it’s also recommended to use thicker needles. These needles are easier to hold (kids still have small hands). It’s a perfect pair with the bulky yarns. Together they can make knitting a bit easier for kids.
For adult beginners, it’s recommended though to start with the standard needles and yarns. It’s best to start right because after all, they’ll eventually move on to the proper way of knitting using proper tools.
Take note that the purpose of thicker needles is for easy manipulation. Many kids might find it hard to use the standard knitting needles. Their hands are still developing and they don’t yet have the capabilities to handle such needles. In contrast, adults already have matured hands that are fully developed and capable for such fine task.
Knitting projects for kids and beginners
An awesome way to motivate someone is to show results fast. This is also the case with knitting. It becomes really motivating if you can see something after little effort and time.
To accomplish this, start with the smallest tasks and milestones. For example, make your child knit a rectangle or square first. That’s already an accomplishment. From there the rectangle can be transformed into a small purse.
The key here is to make kids or beginners quickly have a sense of accomplishment. Nothing is more encouraging than accomplishing something and seeing the results quickly. That’s why it’s recommended to start with the following projects (and break them down into milestones for more accomplishments):
- Baby socks
- Cute monsters (yes kids can do them with knitting)
- Phone covers
There are several other projects and patterns kids can start with. If you want to learn more, you can contact us here at The Aussie Knitting Co and we’ll provide you with excellent recommendations.
This is about mindset and preparing all the tools needed for teaching kids and beginners how to knit. Perhaps the process seems simple but it’s far from easy. That’s because kids have shorter attention span. In addition, their hand-eye coordination might not have been fully developed.
Here are simple tips on how to teach despite the issues above:
- Ensure physical comfort before starting
- Prepare all the needles, yarns and patterns
- Get milk, biscuits or other food
- Commit at least 1 hour for each session
- Take it slowly and step by step
Let’s start with physical comfort. This is a must if you want to ensure focus. After all, a little discomfort can be very distracting. It’s hard to focus on a task (especially learning a new skill) if it’s uncomfortably hot or you’re all in a cramped seating position.
Aside from physical comfort, you should also prioritise momentum. It’s easy to build up momentum if all the tools necessary are already present. The yarns, needles and patterns should all be in place for you to get started quickly. Seeking for yarns in the middle of the session can be distracting and discouraging.
It’s also good to prepare food and snacks for the tutorial session. After all, learning a new skill requires more energy than normal. The foods will also serve as fuel so you and the kids will always have energy all throughout the session.
When it comes to the length of session, keep it in an hour or two. Remember that kids have a shorter attention span. Even if they don’t get bored, expect them to seek something else after some time.
And finally, take it slowly and step by step. It’s knitting and even many adult beginners struggle with the basic stitches. It’s good to have the final output ready (so kids know what to expect). Then you can start with showing how to hold the needles. You can then slowly show step by step how to make the stitches (e.g. garter stitch).
Adults and kids still learn best through imitation. Children copy what they see. What you do becomes their reference of how to do something. To accomplish this, it’s good to take it slowly and step by step. After all, they don’t have any solid foundations yet for most skills.
Teaching knitting to kids and beginners
It starts with having the proper tools (e.g. thicker yarns and needles for kids, applying the right approach). It’s a challenging and yet a rewarding experience. In addition, you’re imparting a legacy that children can have for the rest of their lives.
The key here is to start small and make the learning experience as smooth as possible. Remember when you first learned the art of knitting. It’s overwhelming at first but if there’s a friendly mentor around, the whole process becomes a lot easier.
To optimise this learning process and experience, it’s recommended to use the best tools and patterns for the job. Quality can be really encouraging especially to challenging hobbies such as knitting.
That’s why here at The Aussie Knitting Co, we provide the best yarns and needles for beginners and experienced hobbyists. We have a wide selection of needles (steel, plastic, bamboo) and yarns (alpaca, wool, mohair and many more). We also have hundreds of patterns available for beginners and enthusiasts.
Thousands of beginners and hobbyists have already purchased from our selection through the years. As a result, we’ve gained the knowledge and experience to assist every buyer with their knitting needs.
You can contact us here at The Aussie Knitting Co if you need needles, yarns and basic patterns for knitting. Our friendly staff will provide you with excellent recommendations. You can either order online (3 to 10 days delivery) or visit our store at 8 Brice Avenue, Mooroolbark Victoria 3138 Australia.