Summer knitting projects for kids

As the schools break up for the summer, many people’s thoughts are turning to how to keep their kids occupied for the summer.

One way is to teach them to knit or crochet – see our tips here – but what if they have already mastered the basics? How do you keep them interested when the everlasting scarf for teddy no longer cuts any ice?

Projects that are relevant to them and aren’t too overwhelming are a good idea. With this in mind we’ve put together a few project suggestions.

Toys

A simple garter stitch teddy, or even a dinosaur (like the ones pictured below), can be a good project introducing a little shaping and new techniques without being a mammoth project.

Some children may think they are too old for a toy but they can be encouraged to make a present for a new baby you may know or a younger sibling. Not only do they get the satisfaction of completing a project but also some appreciation for their work.

Gadget cases

Basic rectangular knitting or crochet is great for making gadget and pencil cases. They are a way for encouraging children to practice but they also offer opportunities for them to add their own style through stripes and embellishments.

Homewares

Older children might want to put their own stamp on their bedroom. One way would be to encourage them to make their own cushion covers (chunky yarn is a good option here) or starting a granny square blanket (if they run out of steam, the square might become a cushion cover instead).

Yarn choice

Involving kids in the choice of the yarn for their projects will also help engage them. Think about interesting yarns such as self-striping, tape and chainette yarns and different materials such as raffia or making their own T-shirt yarn or “plarn”. Unusual colour combinations and vivid neons might also prove popular and keep interest in a simple scarf.

Garter stitch dinosaurs from Sirdar would be a good first toy project http://www.sirdar.co.uk/designs/funknits/4632 : If the kids don’t want to knit for themselves how about for a pet as with this dog coast from Stylecraft http://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/Life+Chunky+Pattern+9179+Striped+Dog+Coat/0_CAFA110/PRNC360.htm : These cookie and cupcake cushions from James C Brett might be popular with developing knitters: These Wendy cushions could be adapted to many colour schemes http://www.tbramsden.co.uk/catalog/patterns/Accessories-1/5974:Yarns like this Lolli chainette from Conway+Bliss might keep kids interested in their projects: Crochet gadget cases from King Cole will lend themselves easily to embellishments such as buttons and badges

Garter stitch dinosaurs from Sirdar would be a good first toy project: If the kids don’t want to knit for themselves how about for a pet as with this dog coat from Stylecraft: Cookie and cupcake cushions from James C Brett might be popular with developing knitters: These Wendy cushions could be adapted to many colour schemes: Yarns like this Lolli chainette from Conway+Bliss might keep kids interested in their projects: Crochet gadget cases from King Cole will lend themselves easily to embellishments such as buttons and badges

Let’s get kids knitting this summer

Over the summer holidays there are bound to be days when the weather is bad and the kids are bored so why not occupy them with a fun learn to knit session.

teaching kids to knit

Image from UKHKA event

There are a few things to remember when teaching children to knit:

Finger knitting – this is a great way of getting kids interested in knitting and achieving quick results. It requires no equipment beyond a few balls of leftover yarn. You get great effects using two balls together and children love deciding on the colour combinations. Plus because have finger knitting races to see who can make a scarf to stretch across a room. You can find video instructions on finger knitting here.

Needle size – choose needles that work with DK yarn, so 4mm or 4.5mm. These are a comfortable size for children but also think about the length of the needle. Full sized straight needles are very difficult for small folks to negotiate. You can buy child length needles but you may have something suitable in your needle stash – for example from a magazine cover mount. Or you could add plasticine or Fimo ends to spare double pointed needles.

Have a plan – lots of us remember learning to knit and then asking “what are we making”. The answer might have been “a square”, “we’re just knitting” or perhaps it was a scarf – that never ending first project.

children knitting projects

Simple pieces of garter stitch can be turned into fun projects

To keep kids’ interest think about small items that can be made using squares or strips. Decorative chains can be made by knitting strips and stitching them into loops. You also could have square bunting. Strips of knitting can be gathered and rolled up to make flowers with pipecleaner stems (above left).

Or make a finger puppet (above right) – cast on 10-12 stitches, knit until you have a rough square, cut yarn and thread through stitches, pull tight and sew up the back seam, then decorate with buttons, googly eye, felt and other yarn.

Cast on or not cast on Some people advocate casting on for kids when they start to learn. But you can get them started with the knit cast on and by the time they have 10 or12 sts on their needle and are ready to try a row, they discover they already know most of how to knit stitches.

Knitting rhymes These are a great way to teach the knitting stitch (to adults as well). You can find lots on the internet as they are often regional but I like:

In through the bunny hole (needle into stitch)
Round the big tree (yarn round needle)
Out from the bunny hole (needle draws loop back through stitch)
Off hops she (stitch off left hand needle)

Try saying it as you knit.

Share your knitting rhymes with us in the comments below