Knitting and Kids - It's a Brain Game!

By Julie Follansbee Editor and Publisher Macaroni Kid Johnstown/Laurel Highlands/Altoona January 18, 2017
Most people associate knitting and crocheting with little old grey haired grandmas and would say it's about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Well, I've been a lifelong crafter, studied textiles, and pursued a career in custom clothing design. Crafts are having a renewed PR image and scientists will back me up about the value of this ancient craft. As a matter of fact, 20- and 30-somethings are rediscovering the satisfaction that comes from creating something unique from one's own hands, and knitting in particular is now super hip.

What DO those scientists say? Why take up knitting, or ANY craft for that matter?
Let me tell you a story. When my son was in elementary school, the school wanted to offer some after school enrichment programs and asked parents if they had any special skills they could share with the kids. I offered to teach knitting. Thirteen kids, in first through fourth grades, both boys and girls, signed up to learn to knit. We made a simple scarf and though many finished, many got frustrated and quit. The remaining kids liked it so much that they asked me to come in to the school during recess so that we could continue to knit beyond the end of the program. I met with whomever wanted to knit during recess once or twice a week over winter that year. I'll never forget one day a little girl came in, plopped in her chair, dumped her knitting out on the table and said, "You don't know how much I need this today!" Did I mention it was about 11:30 in the morning and she was in third grade? 
So, on to the benefits of knitting . . . 
  • Works both sides of the brain - logic and creativity
  • Improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Encourage focus and creativity
  • Helps teach kids - and adults patience and how to work through challenges
  • Is a meditative action, causing knitters experience the same "flow" as those who practice yoga
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Gives a sense of pride and achievement
Want to learn more about this subject? 

Are you ready to learn to knit?
There are many online videos that teach knitting but here are MY tips.
  • Use good quality yarn. Animal fibers are best and alpaca or wool feel nice and are easier to work with than most synthetics.
  • Use slightly larger needles. They are much easier to hold when just starting.
Have fun!

Learn the Knitting Rhyme:
  • In through the front door . . . Insert the right needle through the first loop knot on the left needle.
  • Run around back . . . Wrap yarn between the two needles by running it around the back.
  • Out through the window . . . Pull the loop and right hand needle down through the loop on the left hand needle.
  • And off jumps Jack. Transfer the loop from the left needle to the right needle and you've made a stitch!
No needles - no problem

I hope you decide to give it a try and share it with your kids!