I am excited to partner with Oak Meadow today to bring you this post on teaching kids to knit.
Teaching your child to knit might sound a little daunting. It certainly did to me a few years ago when it was time to teach my son. I learned to knit myself when I was very young, only 6, but quickly became an ex-knitter by the ripe old age of 6 1/4.
Knitting was hard for me then. It didn’t come easily and I remember it being very frustrating. I also remember how my Mom made it look so easy! Her needles would effortlessly click clack as she carried on full conversations, not even glancing at her hands. She was a natural and I was clearly not. So I hung up my knitting needles. (Well, placed them carefully down anyways, hanging them could be rather dangerous I suppose.)
Needless to say, at the adult age of … nevermind … I was quite nervous at the thought of teaching my son to knit. But working with the Oak Meadow curriculum I know how beneficial it is for children to learn this skill. In fact, I wrote in some detail about the benefits in this post on knitting projects for kids. In a nutshell, learning to knit engages both sides of the brain, and has children working from the left to the right and in a circular manner, which helps children with reading skills. There is a ton of counting, skip counting, adding, subtracting, and patterning involved as well.
Clearly, learning to knit is very beneficial for children so something I needed to overcome. I thought I would share with you how this non-knitter managed to learn to knit and teach my son to do the same. Without tears nonetheless!
The very first thing we did was get out the yarn. We started by doing some simple yarn crafts and activities. This helped get my son’s little hands used to the feel of yarn and working with it. It also helped to build his dexterity and strengthen his fingers for the knitting that was to come. We started with learning the “magic knot”, which is a simple slip knot and the very first stitch in knitting in fact. Kids think this is really cool. You can see how to do this below. We would make a slip knot, pull the ends to make it “disappear” and make it again and again.
We also did lots of finger knitting. We did one-finger finger knitting and made long, long chains. We then turned these chains into necklaces, bracelets, and coasters. There is also finger knitting that can be done on two or four fingers. Here is how we did one-finger finger knitting:
Finally, when I had put it off as long as I possibly could, I knew it was time to pick up those knitting needles. I decided I wanted to learn myself first. I know that I can get a little testy when I am feeling frustrated, and knowing I was bound to find knitting a bit frustrating at first, I knew I wouldn’t want a little one learning alongside me. So, I sat with my mom once again and she walked me through the steps. I would highly recommend sitting beside a knitter and being taught in real life if at all possible. If not, Youtube videos are a pretty good second.
Here is a video for how to cast on:
And here is a great video for how to do a knit stitch:
It was not long at all before I caught on. It was truly so much easier than I remember it being when I was six. All of these years I had been building it up in my head! I promise, it is completely manageable. So the very next day, I started knitting in front of my little ones. I let them watch and ask questions and just generally get curious.
My then six year old was itching to give it a go. He couldn’t wait to try! I decided to have him start with just the knitting, so I cast on for him. I used real wool and a light colour, as I have heard that is best for beginners.
I cast on ten stitches for him and then knit the first few rows for him using a little poem for each stitch. It is a little different than the one in the Oak Meadow book, but it is the one I was taught when I first learned.
“Into the forest,
Around comes fox,
Out pops rabbit,
and away they run.”
Finally, I handed him the knitting needles and we alternated: one stitch he did, one stitch I did until he was quite comfortable. My little guy picked this up super quick. Within the first day he was knitting.
Sam is now eight and still loves knitting. He has even started his own little shop called, “Knitty Knits” where he sells headbands and washcloths to friends and family. Here is a headband he made for our newest little addition:
Once your little one is able to knit a square, he can create so many things! Here is a post I wrote all about knitting projects that can be made from one knit square.
Sam (now 8) offered to make a little video of himself knitting for you to see. I requested he go nice and slow, but he must have heard me say to go as fast as you possibly can. So here is my Sam speed knitting. Proof that a non-knitter can successfully teach a child to knit! (Also proof I am not so great at video making …)
Now, like all things, children will learn this at their own pace. Some children will be ready for this by the age of six while others will not. It depends on many things: hand-eye coordination, interest, attention span, and dexterity to name just a few.
This year, I have another little one in grade one and he is not yet ready for knitting. It is December and he is still working on mastering finger knitting. For him it is an interest thing. Unlike his brother, he really doesn’t have the interest in learning to knit. I’ve explained that it is an important skill and that we will go slow and steady practicing a little bit each week. He is improving with his finger knitting, so that is all that matters. Progress is progress no matter how slow! We will get to knitting when he is ready, which truthfully might not even be until the summer. This of course is one of the very best things about homeschooling – the freedom to move at my child’s pace.
There you have it friends! A post on how to teach your little one to knit from a former knitting drop out. I want to thank Oak Meadow for partnering with me on this post, and for their amazing curriculum. We have used the Oak Meadow curriculum since Kindergarten and I have no plans in stopping! Oak Meadow gives us the backbone for our days, weeks, months and whole year. They provide the rhythm that my children thrive in.
If you are interested in learning more about the Oak Meadow curriculum (which includes knitting, cooking, and woodworking to name just a few!) please visit their website.
Thank you so much for reading friends,
Purity kinya says
Hi l loved you teach kids how to knit. do you have any patterns for my kid
Hi there – I think you might like this blog post of mine! It is how to make all sorts of different things from one knit square. Perfect for beginners. https://www.howweelearn.com/beginner-knitting-project-one-knit-square/
Judy Ferguson says
I have taught children how to knit on a knitting loom. Not sure what a good age to start might be. If they can learn corking/spool knitting, they can learn loom knitting. The difference is size/number of pegs and stitches as well as some patience because it’s bigger. They can make toys, hats and lots of other things.
Hi Judy, I have never heard of a knitting loom! Thank you for sharing, I will be checking it out!
What size needles do you recommend for an 8 year old? and Circulars or straights. I found when I learned I quickly moved from straights to circulars because I got tired of picking up my needle after a stitch.
What a great question! I am not sure on needle size, though we did start with larger needles and chunky yarn. We also started with straight needles. I am not sure if there is a right or wrong answer as to circular or straight?