For one? You'll equip them with the skill to make their own clothes.

By Alexandra Churchill
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MARIA ROBLEDO

Who taught you how to knit? Almost everyone has that one person who once taught them how to knit, crochet, sew, or cross-stitch when they were young. It might be an aunt, a grandparent, or even your own mother. Most of the skills children learn before they are school age are acquired by playing and copying-and knitting is no exception. If you look at an intricate knitted toy, or an item of knit clothing, it might seem an impossible task to make something like that yourself. You would probably have no idea where to even begin, right?

That's where the lesson begins. Kids can learn so many life skills in a single knitting session: creativity, persistence, resourcefulness, and problem-solving when things don't go quite according to plan. All you need is some beginner-friendly yarn (wool is fairly forgiving), a pair of needles, and their willingness to learn.

Learning Life Lessons

Knitting is a valuable means of teaching life lessons: responsibility (in bringing their yarn project to the lesson), the ability to focus and follow through (through the step-by-step process), persistence (since projects take time and patience to complete), and resourcefulness (by challenging a child to be creative with the materials they have to work with, even if it's a few lengths of leftover yarn). Any knitting project requires both planning of the project and preparation of supplies. First, they have to decide on what to knit: will it be a scarf to wear, a toy for play, or a blanket to keep them warm and cozy? They have to make sure to get the right needles and the right amount of yarn.

Developing Hand-Eye Coordination

Handling a pair of needles, the knit and purl motion-it all requires a skilled hand. A child who knits learns how to work deftly, enhancing their fine motor skills and ability to focus. Start by teaching them how to cast on, knit a swatch, and cast off. The idea behind starting with these methods is to get the child practice working with yarn and a bit of dexterity that will be useful in handling the needles. Even winding yarn into a ball, skein, or hank by hand helps to expand their range of motion. And as they learn how to use double-pointed needles, circular needles, or the notions needed to complete their project, their skillset grows.

Reading and Learning Mathematical Skills

Knitting is an art as much as it is a science. Children who get familiar with knitting patterns are learning engineering principles in an everyday activity. How much yarn do you need to make a headband, a handmade tote bag, or a shawl? Counting stitches, increases and decreases, measuring gauge with a swatch, and logging all of this information into a knitting journal requires it.

Making and Mending Skills

By teaching a child how to make and mend their toys, clothes, and accessories, they understand the time and effort it takes to create them, and better appreciate the value of such things. With the basic stitches, you can teach them how to patch a hole, mend their favorite knit sweater, or make something entirely new altogether. Children will have a skill set that allows them to mend their knits and keep them in good condition. When they become adults, they can carry this budgetary skill with them into their everyday lives. Who knows? It could even lead to a career in the arts and design.

Exploring Self Creativity

When kids have completed a knitting project, they will have a reminder of their accomplishment. They can showcase their homemade toys and accessories to their friends or display them in their bedrooms. Even better, kids can use their creativity to help others, like the Project Linus.

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