Chain! Chain! Chain!

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Crocheters often ask me how they can successfully teach their children, grandchildren, students or youth groups at church how to crochet. The good news is kids are naturally curious and love to learn new things. One important key to successfully teaching children something new is to make it meaningful to them and have the results be something fun and creative.

When teaching kids to crochet, it’s generally best to use a smooth acrylic or wool yarn in a medium or bulky weight and light or bright color, along with a larger-size crochet hook, such as size I, J or K. The lighter color and smooth texture of the yarn make the stitches easier to see, and the larger hook is easier for small hands to grip.

Naturally, learning to crochet starts with the simple chain. As kids get the hang of chaining, it’s wonderful seeing them get “hooked” as they beam with pride at their accomplishments. Once kids feel comfortable with their chaining skills using the smooth yarn, you can then introduce them to a few novelty yarns with interesting textures.

What really makes learning to crochet “click” for kids is discovering what fun, cool things they can make — even with those simple lengths of chain. Thanks to the flexibility of the crocheted chain, it can be used just about anywhere you might use a piece of string or cord.

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Kids can turn longer chains into necklaces, which can be embellished with beads, buttons, charms, medals or school awards. Shorter chains are perfect for bracelets, anklets or even rings. Chains can also be made into cute hair decorations or colorful ties for holiday packages. With some cardboard, short chains and a hole punch, kids can make hanging tags to match!

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 For a personal, one-of-a-kind style, kids can string their shoes with their own unique crocheted chains, made to the same length as the original shoelaces. Colorful chains can also be shaped into pretty flowers and scrapbook embellishments or used to create simple bookmarks. Two or three long chains braided together make a cool-looking belt. The creative possibilities with the simple crocheted chain are virtually endless!

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Not only will children enjoy putting their new crochet chaining skills to good use, but they can also help you use up your yarn scraps in the process. What’s more, after seeing how much fun they’re having with chains, kids will be eager to learn the next step — single crochet.

We’ll cover ideas for teaching kids how to single crochet in the blog post later this week.

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