The Benefits, Basics, & Service Projects of Knitting for Kids

Knitting for Kids

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.

Knitting Service Projects

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.

Caps to the Capitol

Knit a Square for Orphans with AIDS

Project Linus

The Santa Train

More community service projects on the Interweave Knits website.

Knitting for Kids Online

The Nurture Store has a fantastic tutorial for finger knitting.

Knitting Help has a wealth of information for beginning knitters.

Simple Kids has a post on teaching kids to knit and links to a wonderful post from Small Things about knitting with kids.

More Knitting Resources for Kids

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.

Kids Knitting: Projects for All Ages

Kids Knit!: Simple Steps to Nifty Projects

Fun Picture Books About Knitting!

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?

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  • http://www.dirtandboogers.blogspot.com Amanda

    I love this post so much! I’m an avid knitter and will be teaching J when he is a bit older. Knitting is such a great actvity for little ones to strengthen fine motor skills and concentation. Thanks for spreading the word!

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      thanks for mentioning concentration – good point!!

  • http://www.olugbemisolabooks.com olugbemisola

    So much truth here!
    Two of my absolute favourite knitting picture books are MR. NICK’S KNITTING and DEREK THE KNITTING DINOSAUR.

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      thanks, Gbemi!

  • http://thegettys.blogspot.com Susan

    Thanks for this…I pinned it :)

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      thanks, Susan!

  • http://PragmaticMom.com PragmaticMom

    Knitting is so much fun and I actually learned from my 9year old who learned from her friend who learned from her mother. I can’t say that we are very good at it yet, but it is fun though sometimes I hold the yarn too tight and that messes up my hands.

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      how cool that your 9 year old taught YOU! I gave up knitting b/c I type so much, I can’t do both or I get carpal tunnel. I know what you mean.

  • http://www.pinkandgreenmama.com Pink and Green Mama MaryLea

    Great suggestions! My own girls had a knitting lesson with a neighbor friend who is also a Montessori mama. Both girls loved it!

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      I loved your photos of your felted projects! Will you blog about it soon?

  • http://www.smalltypes.com Erin @ Small Types

    I actually purchased the Melanie Falick book for myself to learn way before I had kids of my own. I was into it for a while but never advanced past the scarf phase. Maybe I should try again with my kids. We’ve embroidered but never picked up the knitting needles. Great idea!

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      I bet it would be fun to relearn with your kids!

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  • Charrmagn

    Thank you for the post you have posted here for us…I really enjoyed reading this…

  • http://nurturestore.co.uk/ cathy @ nurturestore

    Some really great resources here Melissa. My daughter will be thrilled you included her finger knitting. I’ve been impressed with how quickly children can pick it up, and they are always so proud of the results.

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  • Hayles

    I love this! I taught one of my classes to knit as a bit of an experiment a couple of years ago. It was wonderful! They used to keep their kits under their chairs and as soon as they’d finished any work out would come the needles. They were so proud of themselves. Unfortunately the school I work at didn’t support it at all and so all costs had to come out of my own pocket and it got a bit expensive. But it was brilliant. Made the kids calmer, more confident and more motivated to do well in class – as the star of each week got to choose a funky ball of wool from my Special Bag. =)

    • http://imaginationsoup.net Melissa Taylor

      you sound like a teacher I’d want my kids to have! Brilliant!!

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