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Teaching kids to knit isn’t just a fun activity (which is is) but it’s also calming, most likely benefits children in school with math and literacy, and can lead into wonderful service projects. Also, because you’re using the right and the left hand, knitting engages both sides of the brain — that’s a good thing. Children in Waldorf schools even learn knitting prior to math as fine motor skills, patterns, and following directions lay the foundation.
AJ learned to knit at age six which is the age that children in Waldorf schools begin knitting.
I recommend beginners start with large bamboo knitting needles, anything between size 11 and 18, and colorful thick yarn of their choice. Bamboo is less slippery than plastic so kids are more successful.
My mother-in-law, Linda Taylor, owns a knitting store and teaches classes. I watched her teach AJ a simple rhyme for the knit stitch. Here it is – it’s super cute and it worked.
Under the fence.
Catch a sheep.
Back we come.
Off we leap!
Ta-da! The knit stitch!
The Waldorf schools use this rhyme:
In through the front door.
Around the back.
Out through the window.
And off jumps Jack!
Casting on is a bit tricky so I suggest that an adult casts on for the child until the child masters the knit stitch.
AJ is like me — a rock star at scarves and other 4 sided objects.
The key for beginning knitters to use HUGE needles and thick yarn. See the thick multicolored yarn – green, orange, red, blue, purple, and magenta – that AJ used for a scarf? It’s soft, fuzzy and hides mistakes.
I found this article quite interesting, “Discover Waldorf Education: Knitting and Intellectual Development,” and recommend you check it out.
Even child knitters can give a lovingly made blanket, hat, or other knitted creation to someone in need. Here are a few suggestions for knitting service projects.
More community service projects on the Interweave Knits website.
The Nurture Store has a fantastic tutorial for finger knitting.
Knitting Help has a wealth of information for beginning knitters.
This is a good beginning knitting kit from Alex. Big needles! (I would like thicker yarn but . . . )
I like this Klutz Knitting kit, too.
Most knitting books are too complicated for kids. Here’s a few that aren’t too bad but I think the best way to learn is from someone else. Most yarn stores offer classes for kids.
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen
Knitting Nell by Julie Jersild Roth
Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski
The Three Spinning Fairies by Brothers Grimm
Martha Moth Makes Socks by Cambria Evans
Boys Don’t Knit by Janice Schoop
Phoebe’s Sweater by Joanna Johnson
The Surprise by Sylvia Van Ommen
Farmer Brown Shears his Sheep: a Yarn about Wool by Teri Sloat
Do you knit already? Do you think you’ll teach your kids?