What is better than being able to crochet for children? Being able to teach children to crochet, that’s what! Crocheting gives children a sense of accomplishment while fostering their creativity. Teaching a child crochet opens them up to so many crafting possibilities, so let’s make that easier on all of us!
I am no teacher. Although I did line up my stuffed animals as a child and pretend to be a teacher. Now that I have two little humans of my own (my sons aged 8 and 10) I am teaching them instead of stuffed animals and Barbie dolls.
What I love about teaching children is that they don’t see the imperfections in their work as readily as adults do. They create, they accomplish a goal and by doing so in small, measurable steps this helps to keep that momentum going. Foster that creative genius in your children, I say!
The most important thing when you teach children to crochet is to maintain that enthusiasm. It is not how well the task is performed, rather that they did it! Here are some things that helped me teach my boys.
12 Ways to Teach Children to Crochet
1. Have the child do as much of the work as possible. It may be tempting to start the chain and/or a foundation row and then hand over the work, but if the child does not know how to start a project, they won’t know how to start a new project either.
2. It’s okay if it’s not perfect. As a more experienced crocheter you will notice if their gauge is off and any missed stitches. If the child’s stitches are wonky – that is OKAY! They only see their completed stitch/row as an accomplishment.
3. Use small words. As crocheters we know dozens of crochet terms. This is like a second language, after all. Remember that children do not know these terms, and can get easily overwhelmed. My 10-year old has a passion for making latch-hook rugs. He calls making a chain stitch “latching” and you know what? He knows what he’s doing so that’s what we call it – for now, anyway.
4. Use their fingers first. Depending on the age of the child (the cut-off I’ve noticed is around age 6) it may be easier to have them start making a chain using their finger as a hook instead of an actual crochet hook.
5. Think big! Once the child can make a chain using their finger, move on to using crochet hooks, but stick to larger hooks. If you have an N hook and some chunky yarn that would be perfect! The smaller the yarn and the smaller the hook, the harder it is to see what you’re doing. Make it easier by making it bigger.
6. Master one stitch at a time. By mastering the chain stitch before moving onto single crochet or double crochet, your child is not only learning how to start a new project, they are also learning how to master tension. (even if “tension” isn’t what you’re calling it)
7. Start small. Your child may want to start off with a large project such as a blanket or clothing for a doll etc, but try to make the first (few) projects simple and easily completed. Turn a simple chain into a bracelet, or make several chains in different colors and knot together to form a necklace! Not only are they mastering that stitch, they have a tangible finished project to show off as well.
When learning the single crochet, I had my 10 year old make a rectangle which we then folded in half to make a pouch! Note that I added the lining (here’s a tutorial if you need help!) and then I added the zipper (here’s a tutorial for that as well!) but he’s happy as can be with his first REAL finished project. This is now where he keeps his collection of fidget spinners.
8. Forget the rules. When teaching children to crochet don’t get caught up on the rules. Focus on making the stitches; not the hook size, stitch count or gauge. That is, until they are ready to move on to more complex patterns.
9. Start more than once. Sure, starting a project can be the most daunting task, but if you do all of the chaining, they may forget how they started in the first place. This would be a great time to make a collection of different colored chains that can be turned into that necklace we talked about earlier. They think they’re making a pretty, fun, multicolored necklace but they’re really just getting awesome at starting a new project!
10. Give praise (and be specific). Be sure to give praise and give it often. Instead of “you’re doing a great job” try praising specific things such as “I like how you’re holding your hook”!
11. Let them pick materials. (but don’t use black yarn) You’ll want to let them pick out the yarn, but guide them a bit if necessary. Use a (bulky weight) yarn color that allows the stitches to be SEEN. Ever worked with black yarn? It is not fun for an experienced crocheter, let alone when you’re trying to teach children to crochet.
12. Hold the yarn. In the beginning, my 8 year old got frustrated when he held the yarn himself. The working yarn was loose, making it hard for him to yarn over and then actually get that yarn through the stitch. For a short time, I held the yarn as I normally would while he manipulated the hook. After showing him how I hold my working yarn hand and how the hook should feel as he pulls the yarn through, he was able to find a way to hold the yarn that feels most comfortable to him.
What are other things you’ve found helpful as you teach children to crochet? I love to see their little faces light up as they complete each project, and I love that the younger generation is interested in such things! Better than iPads, video games and YouTube, I say. 😉
More helpful crochet tips:
How to Choose the Best Yarn Ball Winder for Your Needs
What to Do When You Forget Which Crochet Hook Size You Used
5 Reasons You Should Time Yourself While Crocheting
How to Crochet the Invisible Decrease for Amigurimi Crochet
10 Road Trip Crochet Project Ideas