Teaching Knitting to Kids

I’ve tried a few times to write up the poem that my son and I made to teach him knitting but couldn’t come up with it.

Then yesterday my daughter had a friend over who was fascinated with my knitting and pestered me to teach her. She did learn fairly quickly (6 1/2 years old). Naturally her tension is the pits, but she knitted 6 rows beside me over 20 sts.

But in teaching her I managed to remember how I taught my son (somewhat).

So first, I do teach them English/Throw. It seems easier to do BUT I show them that I knit continental/pick method.

We started off with the child sitting on my lap. Naturally you have to consider something else if you are in a situation where this is not okay!

I knitted a few rows with her hands on the needles in Continental. So that she could ‘see’ the stitches being formed.

Then we switched to English with her holding the needles.

The sts on the left needle are described as a row of houses. We always are interested in the house on end of the street! Put your finger on the roof of the house!

Every house has a front door and a back door. Always go in the front door “ON the Neighbour’s side of the house!”

At this point I am wrapping the yarn, but I say, “run around behind the tree in the backyard and take the rope with you!”

Pop the rope out the front door. Put your finger on the new rope, and slip off the old house!

We then knitted with me throwing for about 20 sts. For the young guest to get the rhythm of garter sts.

Then I shifted her over to the sofa beside me and grabbed a set of needles and stitching and showed her how to ‘drop’ the right needle for now so that she could wrap the tree in the back yard.

We used merchanized worsted weight cotton on size 5.5 mm needles!

Her typical problem and my son’s problem too is to remember to slip off the old sts!

At our house, we say:

Front to back,
Around the back and in between,
Through the window,
Slide it off.

My son still says it (11yo) when he gets his needles out after a long hiatus.

It doesn’t rhyme, but it is pretty rhythmic.

I have been told other little ditties that do rhyme, but I can’t remember them.

I have never taught knitting, but I’m thinking of volunteering in a local public school doing just that, so…

  1. What’s the best type of needle to use?
    I was thinking a pair of large bamboo circulars, I think straight needles are so difficult.

  2. Isn’t fat single ply wool the best? I think wool is much easier to knit than cotton: it’s springy and not at all slippery.

  3. What about starting with finger knitting? Good idea, or not?

I just got this book from the library: http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Learn-Knit-Lucinda-Guy/dp/1570763356/ref=sr_1_1/002-5651171-6596019?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190698653&sr=1-1

It has a little rhyme in it and my 8 year old son is excited. He has been wanting to learn to knit for a while now. :woohoo::thumbsup:

Woohoo! Teaching knitting to kids, MrsDavis3, you rock! If you can’t get a Kids-Learn-To-Knit type book at your local library, you might ask them to do an Interlibrary Loan…

  1. What’s the best type of needle to use?
    Who is going to be providing the needles? You? The students? The school (not likely)? That is what is really going to determine what kind of needles they use. Where in town can needles be bought, (if you aren’t providing them all)? I told my beginners to bring size 8 needles, a sort of medium size, but also told them if they forgot them, I’d have pencils available to work with. Pencils are slightly bigger than size 10 1/2, but smaller than size 11 (at least on my knitcheck). They are also very cost effective. Big sizes might be hard for little hands to handle, but small sizes don’t give you that immediate gratification of finishing a project fast. I think that a beginner is less likely to get confused as to which direction the work is going on straights, but I hardly work with them anymore, myself.
  1. Isn’t fat single ply wool the best?
    Who is providing the yarn? I chose Red Heart Super Saver acrylic because I bought all the yarn for my students and wound little balls of enough for a small project for each of them to keep. I would have loved to buy all of them wool, but the pocketbook wouldn’t allow it. How many will you be teaching? I don’t know about yarn thickness, again, I chose worsted weight only because it’s said to be easiest to learn with. Color is said to be most important, I think, so that the students can easily see the stitches with light-colored yarn.
  1. What about starting with finger knitting? Good idea, or not?
    How many classes will you be teaching? I thought I was doing pretty well to shove cast on and knit into an hour. If you have more than one class to teach the basics, it might be fun to start off with finger knitting, using only yarn. Those who enjoy the finger knitting can then go out and get needles for the next class. Or you could show them loom knitting after finger knitting- same principle, but you can do it in the round.

As long as you have perseverance and can demonstrate how much you love knitting, that will rub off on your students.

Good luck, and give us an update on how it goes!

So glad this topic came up… I asked about it a few weeks ago and got some really great advice here! Those rhymes are going right into my notebook!
I’m sponsoring “knitting club” at school. I think I may be able to get the PTO to purchase the needles (in one size…probably size 8 or 10). (Otherwise, many knittinghelpers suggested that I watch the tutorial here on making your own needles…that would be a good project). If a child chooses another project later that requires a different size needle, he/she will be responsible for getting them.
I purchased a bunch of yarn (red heart acrylic, various colors) very inexpensively on ebay. I plan to have their first “swatch” cast on and ready to knit the first day. I think that cast-on gets frustrating and I don’t want them to give up before they’ve even knit a stitch!

Now, I’m just trying to come up with some more interesting but easy projects, especially for any boys who join (won’t get the list or final #s until Monday)

I’m an art teacher (K-12) and I’m also an elementary classroom teacher… (not at the same time though!) :smiley:

I’ve taught many children how to knit. We have a stuffed bunny by the name of Henry that lives in our classroom and gets to go on overnight visits w/ the elementary students… (when I’m a classroom teacher.)

AND this is what I use… now, if they don’t know about HENRY we just say the bunny…

Henry (or the bunny) goes in the hole (stick the right needle in the left loop)

Henry grabs a rope (wrap the yarn around the L needle)

Henry jumps out (I have them actually rest the needle in the crossed position to get them familiar w/ seeing the different steps of the knit stitch)

Henry runs away… (or the bunny) and you drop the new stitch off of the left needle.

THEY can say it easy… since it’s so short.


The bunny jumps in the hole
The bunny grabs a rope
The bunny jumps out (sometimes we say he sits on a fence)
The bunny hops off the fence or runs away

I was always taught:

In, round-the-bottom-needle, through and OFF! In a rhythmic sort of way.

FWIW, I just taught my 6yo, 8yo, 10yo and 12yo to knit Continental without worring about English first and they got it fine. They had learned to crochet first which helped as the way you hold the yarn is similar.