Teaching Children to Crochet

Crochet Stitch Sampler in 2 Colors

A variety of crochet stitches are included in this piece.
A variety of crochet stitches are included in this piece. | Source

Kids Can Learn to Crochet

I know young kids can learn to crochet because I did. So did my cousin. If memory serves me well, I was in third grade when I learned to wield a hook and yarn. I am planning to teach crochet to a group of second through fifth grade children in the spring so they can start enjoying this rewarding craft as well. Update: Today is the first day of class and I get to meet my ten students. I'm nervous, but excited.

As a mother, I firmly believe that idle hands are the devil's playground. As a teacher, I've also seen that hand work develops many skills important to success in academics: Concentration, perseverance, fine motor skills, and following instructions are among those skills. Crochet, spool or loom knitting, and hand embroidery are all good skills to teach elementary school children as well as teens. They will always have something to do on a rainy day, while recovering from an illness, or any time they need a gift for a friend.

Keep in mind that most of our ancestors were doing all sorts of useful things at very young ages, including knitting, sewing, and crochet. Children today are no different in their capacity to learn those skills. They just need a teacher, or at least a good instruction book with pictures.

Interesting Facts about Crochet

  • "Crochet" comes from the French word meaning "hook."
  • Crocheting lace enabled some Irish families to survive the potato famine

What Do I Need to Get Started?

Each student needs a hook and yarn. I recommend an aluminum hook in size J or K (U.S. sizes) for beginners. Loops slide more easily on metal than on plastic and a J or K hook is big enough that students can see stitches clearly and grasp the shaft easily. For yarn, use a worsted weight yarn like Red Heart Super Saver, Wool-Ease, or Love That Yarn from Hobby Lobby. Beginners need to be able to see their stitches as they form them, so no fuzzy, nubby or feathery yarns, please. Those can wait until students are confidently and consistently making uniform stitches.

For reference, How to Crochet from Story Basics is the resource I have found to have the best illustrations of crochet techniques. Drew Emborsky (The Crochet Dude) also has some great resources. See his website for details, especially if you are planning to teach some boys to crochet and want a manly example for them.

Single Crochet Close-Up

Novelty crochet with metal rings added
Novelty crochet with metal rings added | Source

How Did You Learn?

Who taught you to crochet?

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Teaching Tip: Begin in the Middle

Start beginners in the middle by giving them a piece of crochet with the first row already worked. Teach them to work and turn several rows and finish off a practice piece. Then go back to the beginning with a new practice piece and start with the slipknot and foundation chain. Why? Working into a foundation chain is not as easy as working into the stitches of a preceding row, so many kids want to give up before they even complete their first row. Also, having some work already done helps beginners by giving them something to hold on to besides a skinny string.

A Crocheted Shawl

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Crocheted Socks

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4 comments

WeeCatCreations1 profile image

WeeCatCreations1 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I would teach preteens to crochet during summer camp. Some kids would become addicted to making super long scarves. I'm glad to see the tip about the teacher working the first row ... I would do this and then feel like I was "cheating" to make the teaching process easier, but it was nice to see kids succeed.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 2 years ago from North Carolina, USA Author

Yes, I use the "begin in the middle" approach with knitting as well. And super long scarves will be one of my class projects--lots of good practice!


Sylvestermouse profile image

Sylvestermouse 21 months ago from United States

It is totally awesome that you are teaching children to crochet! I think I was 10 or 12 when I started crocheting. I have often feared that it would be a lost art when our generation passed.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 21 months ago from North Carolina, USA Author

Thanks! I don't feel too competent some days, but kids are individuals. Some pick it up like I did--almost instinctively--while others need lots of individual attention. It's exhausting, but rewarding.

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