Teaching Kids to Knit: Make it Positive

It is always an honor when a child expresses an interest in your craft. Whether the child is your own, a grandchild, a student, or a neighbor, teaching a child to knit is a precious opportunity. You aren’t just passing down a skill; you’re creating a memory, a bond-and a new knitter. Ask the knitters you know: They can tell you who taught them to knit!

When you teach a child to knit, remember that the lesson is more about the experience of knitting than the mechanics. You need more patience than knowledge, more love than advanced skill.

After teaching thousands of kids at The Handwork Studio, we’ve come up with some tips designed to make both the teaching and the learning experiences rewarding and memorable.

Focus on process, not product. 

As a knitter, you try to make your work look perfect. For children, perfection shouldn’t be the focus. The goal is to have fun and minimize frustration. Don’t over-correct; encourage instead. A child who enjoys the process will return, getting better with age and experience. Enjoy the interest in your craft and fix mistakes, if necessary, privately!

Quality materials matter. 

An investment in high-quality materials will show that you are vested in a child’s learning. Start off with a nice bulky natural fiber on size 8 wooden needles. And the gift of a handsome knitting basket filled with special notions will make a child feel like a knitter.

Choice is key. 

Whenever possible, involve children in the decisions. Let them pick yarn colors and tools. Design projects together.

Keep lessons short and sweet. 

Make your lessons special “one-on-one” times that last no more than thirty minutes to an hour. After a lesson, put the work away and bring it out only during your time together. Your fledgling knitter will be excited to see the project again and to have your undivided attention.

Start small. 

Knit something that can be completed in a couple of sessions. Immediate gratification is important. Knit small squares and make fun-stuffed shapes with them. Introduce longer projects over time.

Show pleasure in what’s accomplished. 

Photograph and display the finished project.  Never make excuses to others about any imperfections. This experience is not about you or your teaching ability. It’s about sharing your craft.


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