Wednesday, January 29, 2014

TIPS FOR TEACHING CHILDREN CROCHET and a first project pattern


Do you have a child in your life that has been BEGGING you to teach them how to crochet but you just don't know where to start??? I have been teaching children to crochet for about 10 years now and would like to share some tips and a first pattern that worked for me. The tips are written for a classroom setting (or multiple students), but can be easily used for one on one. I do NOT recommend teaching in a group setting before children have completed the Third Grade (approx 8 years old) as their attention spans and small motor skills are not always there.  However, one on one you can start as early as your child is ready (my youngest started at 4).

 I have discovered that starting the first few rows of the project for the child makes it easier for them to figure out how to hold the hook and yarn easier AND be able to finish the first project much more quickly.  Then on the second session they can follow the pattern and make from start to finish by themselves. The pattern included is written WITHOUT any abbreviations so that they will be able to understand it more easily.  


You will need to make sure you prepare beforehand.  

Collect for each child:
  • size G crochet hooks (I try to use a variety of colors if I am working with very many children at once)
  • scissors
  • finishing needle 
Other items
  • Have one tape measure for measuring their wrists and a few rulers for them to be able to measure their work as they progress. 
  • Select a variety of light SOLID colored balls of  yarn and wind off enough small balls for each child to have a choice.  
  • Also have a selection of buttons available that have large enough holes to accommodate the finishing needles you have provided.

For EACH small ball of yarn available, crochet the first 3 rows (from the pattern below) + the first single crochet on the next row and secure with a small safety pin.  I like to put these into small ziplock baggies so that the children can look through them without worry that they will become tangled.  It also gives them a place to store their project in if they are unable to complete it during your teaching session.  


What to do when the children arrive:
  1. Have them measure their wrists with the tape measure.
  2. Now let them choose what color yarn they would like.
  3. Teach the child how to hold the yarn and hook. Show them both the knife and pencil hold. Tell them to try both and decide what they feel more comfortable with.
  4. Show them how to do a single crochet. Then show them again. And again. And then you will probably have to show them again!!
  5. When they reach the end of the first row: show them how to count their stitches to make sure they have the correct amount.  Next, show them how to make a chain stitch.
  6. When they finish their wrist band (which may or may NOT be their first session) show them how to weave in their ends.  

THINGS FOR YOU TO REMEMBER AS A TEACHER OF CROCHET

  • DO remember to tell them about "frogging" their stitches and how you "rip it, rip it, rip it out". This will make it easier when they need to frog their own stitches.
  • DO let them visit as long as they are not being disruptive to others. We want them to LOVE crochet and learning how.
  • DO provide some sort of incentive for repeat attendance.  For me, I would give them their crochet hook at their first class.  But they would have to EARN their finishing kit by coming to 3 classes in a row. I would use a small tin and enclose a pair of folding scissors, one finishing needle, a needle threader and a retractable measuring tape. It was a great incentive and many of my former grade school students that are in college now STILL have (or at least parts of) their first finishing kit!
  • DO be encouraging!!  Some of them will come to you and will have a TANGLED MESS, but all they see is their finished project. If they are struggling and upset, share one of your own messy crochet project stories (we ALL have at least ONE). Sometimes you will need to separate a child for a "private" lesson. It could be they are distracted by other students OR intimidated by them, especially if they have come into the class later than the others. 
  • DO speak in crochet terms. Your goal should be to teach them so that one day they will be able to pick up any pattern and crochet from it.  If you use you own made up terms they will never be able to accomplish this.  
This is by no means a perfect recipe for success, but a technique that worked for me during the years I have taught children.  If you have any tips or ideas to help in teaching children PLEASE leave them in a comment!!!  I'm ALWAYS looking for new things to help it go smoother.  Thanks!

Wrist Band Pattern

Materials:

  • small amount of worsted weight yarn
  • size G crochet hook
  • finishing needle
  • needle threader (optional)
Size: 1 1/4" wide (measure your wrist to get the desired length)

Chain 5.
Row 1: Single crochet in 2nd chain from hook and in each stitch across. (4 single crochet) 
Row 2: Chain 1, turn. Single crochet in each stitch across.
Repeat Row 2 until crochet piece measures desired length.
Last Row (buttonhole row): Chain 1, turn. Single crochet in first stitch, chain 2, single crochet in last st. Finish off, making sure to weave in all tails.

Thread an 8 inch piece of yarn onto your finishing needle.  Sew your button onto your wristband about 1/2" from the edge on the end opposite of the buttonhole row.  Tie a small overhand knot securely on the back side of the wrist band.  Weave in tails.


Be Blessed and Show them the LOVE OF CROCHET!!
Amy B