Knitting with Kids: Benefits, Basics, & Service Project

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Knitting with 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.

Knitting with Kids

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.

Knitting with Kids

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. 🙂

Knitting with Kids

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.

Save the Children

Project Linus

Knitting with Kids Online

Knitting with Kids

The Nurture Store has a fantastic tutorial for finger knitting.

Knitting Help has a wealth of information for beginning knitters.


More Knitting Resources for Kids

Knitting with Kids

I like this Klutz Knitting book, 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.

Knitting with Kids

Kids Knitting: Projects for All Ages

Knitting with Kids

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?


Teaching Kids to Knit (with photos)

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  1. Do you have any pictorial instructions fro each item the students make?

  2. 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. =)

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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!