Back to School: Teach a Kid to Crochet

First portion excerpted from the article, "My First Crochet" by Kate Beale, in our May/June 2011 issue. 

Many kids find that crochet is the easiest needlecraft to learn. Introducing them to the wonders of crochet requires the right tools, the right yarn, and the right first project, so that kids see the craft as fun instead of a chore. 

One of the benefits of teaching kids to crochet is that it hones their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Children as young as six should be able to master the basics. 

While teaching, it's important to be patient, give praise, andif you're in a classroom settingrealize that all kids don't learn at the same speed and some may need special attention. 

For most beginner projects, you'll need to teach kids how to do a basic slipknot, a chain, single crochet, fastening off, and some simple sewing (see our how-to pages if you need pictures). Double crochet will let your young students make progress faster, but make sure they have the basics mastered, first. Because kids have limited attention spans, break up your sessions into bite-size pieces. And encourage practicing before moving on from one skill to the next. 

The Crochet Guild of America's website has tips on organizing a crochet class in your local school and the Craft Yarn Council's Learning Center teaches the basics and beyond to keep kids and adults engaged in the craft. Lucinda Guy's Kids Learn to Crochet (Trafalgar Square Books, 2008), featuring the charming mice Peg and Pip, teaches techniques with step-by-step illustrative instructions to create fun, yet easy projects. 

A variegated or self-striping yarn can make even the simplest crochet efforts into a fun project. A strip of crochet that is a few stitches wide (say, 4-6 stitches) can be made into a headband, a wristband, or a belt. Once double crochet is mastered, a cute scarf in a self-striping yarn isn't far away. Red Heart's Let's Win Scarf would be perfect for the start of the school year!

Click on the headers below to find more free patterns that are perfect for kids and teens:

Easy Crochet Change Purse

Phone Cozy

Loopy Hair Barrette

Easy Dishcloths

Super-Simple Throw

Have you taught any children to crochet? Adults? If you've taught both, what were the differences? Tell us about your teaching experiences below.