Tips and lessons for teaching your pearls to purl
This series is a part of our Crafts to Do with Kids Series, which has weekly posts, giveaways and how-tos all month-long.
When to start knitting with kids:
About 5 to 6 is generally the best age to start knitting, but desire to learn and dexterity are also reliable indicators. If kids watch eagerly as you pull up a skein of yarn and needles or they can tie their shoes easily, they are probably ready.
Materials that work best when knitting with kids:
Choose a high-quality wool with a lot of grip so stitches don’t drop as easily. Also, a light-colored yarn makes stitches easier to see. Any size knitting needles will work, as along as it fits the yarn.
How to teach the knit stitch when knitting with kids:
Note: Most kids have an attention span of their age plus 2-5 minutes, so a six-year-old can focus for roughly 8-13 minutes. As such, keep lessons short and sweet to prevent burnout.
We love the classic teaching rhyme, shared by Knit Sisters:
“Up the tree,
Around the back,
Down the tree,
And off jumps jack.”
Demonstrate the knit stitch 5-7 times, all while saying the rhyme with each stitch.
Once your child understands the rhyme, have them direct your next stitch while you refuse to move the needles without your child’s direction. Continue this for the next few stitches until your child seems to have mastered the rhyme and can identify what each direction means.
Step 2 (teens skip to Step 3):
Once your child has a clear visual of what the knit stitch looks like, ask if she’s ready to learn more. If not, stop here to end on a note of success. If your child is eager for more, an expert on Knit Sisters recommends putting your child’s hands in your own and knitting a few stitches so she can get a feel. The expert then recommends letting the little knitter hold the needles while you wrap the yarn.
Once the child seems comfortable, hand the needles over and let them combine everything. Remember that messing up and making mistakes are a normal, healthy part of learning.
General tips when knitting with kids:
- Be comfortable making a mistake (or even faking a mistake) when knitting to demonstrate that mistakes are normal.
- Praise and encouragement are essential when teaching kids. Teens especially can feel insecure about trying something new in front an expert, so be uncritical.
- If a child gets frustrated, take a 10-minute break and come back later.
- Focus on process over product — praise how well the child is working or how much fun he or she is having, instead of how neat and pretty the finished product looks.
This stylish knitting-with-kids kit from kids' boutique shop Madame La Marchande offers a delightful gift for young kids and teens interested in knitting. The kit folds into a tiny, tidy vintage-inspired suitcase and comes with decadent yarn and basic tools.
Head to Madame La Marchande to buy the knitting with kids kit.
Practice dexterity and get kids excited about working with yarn via this finger-knitting-with-kids project, which can be made into a skinny scarf, holiday decor or even an extra-long jump rope.
Dharma Flyer has the free finger knitting with kids ornament pattern.
This vintage-inspired knitting-with-kids doll has small pegs on a wooden doll and helps young kids learn knitting. The doll comes with a needle and yarn.
To buy the knitting-with-kids doll, head to Amazon.
Image credits (from top): Madame La Marchande, Flickr.com/starshaped, Flickr.com/.curt, Madame La Marchande, Dharma Flyer and Perisphere & Tylon, Inc.