Are you looking for handwork ideas for your preschooler? We've recently started using a Knitting Fork (Lucet) and French Knitting. My four-year-old prefers the Knitting Fork, he finds it easier. Both are great options that may initially challenge the child but produce results fast, especially if you are using chunky yarn.
These knitting ideas are fantastic for developing coordination and fine motor skills but they are also really good for showing children how to use raw materials to make something by hand. If using wool we could start by showing the child how wool is grown, we could do the same if we are using cotton.
Some early knitting tips:
- remember process over product
- begin by working together - allow the child to sit on your lap, next to you or in front of you and work together. To start I demonstrate how to use the knitting fork and then I hold it while my child does with knitting. Then a week or so later I encourage him to hold it and do all of the work.
- embrace and allow for short periods of work - sometimes my child only works on this for a couple of minutes. It all adds up, we can allow the child to work for as long as they like (if possible). One minute, two minutes of work it doesn't matter the child is working on their skills.
- don't rush - when demonstrating the knitting make slow and deliberate movements, keep the knitting low pressure.
- allow for mistakes - at this age, we should expect mistakes, don't stress over dropped stitches.
- allow for loose knitting - the tighter it is the harder it is for the child. Our knitting with the chunky yarn is very loose.
Here I am holding the Knitting Fork so my child can become familiar with the process.
Eventually, the child develops muscle memory and can do the knitting. Our knitting is loose and wonderfully imperfect. We love to use rainbow wool as it looks interesting without having to introduce a second yarn. Hand-painted yarn is often a more sustainable option compared to commercially dyed yarn.
Our Knitting Fork is from Indigo Inspirations, we may be using the handpainted chunky rainbow yarn (AU), (similar here US). (UK here). Similar Knitting Fork/Lucet is also available at many craft stores, Bella Luna Toys and at Montessori Services.
This is our very simple DIY French Knitter. There are Youtube tutorials on how to make one, how to cast on and off, this tutorial is good. The advantage of the DIY French Knitter is it's easy to make with what you already have at home. Using chunky yarn, the child's knitting can get long very quickly. We can make French Knitting easier for the child by using a large French Knitter with only a few prongs, here we have four.
I start with the child in my lap and I hold the knitter while he does the knitting. Then slowly over time, he does the knitting independently. There are dropped stitches, the majority I can put back on.
This isn't easy (requires concentration), but it knits up quickly.
The child can make long or short cords, then they can decide what to do with them. We can pull it apart and knit the yarn again, we can make a scarf, a toy snake or something else!! For older children, we can change to different coloured yarn to make it more interesting. Using more prongs, a smaller knitter and thinner yarn or thread also makes the French Knitting more challenging.
This post includes affiliate links. Thank you so much for your support!