First Grade Homeschooling

First Grade Handwork - Teaching Children to Knit | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsHandwork in Education

Teaching children to knit and handwork, in general, is a subject that is pretty exclusive to Waldorf education. I have read lots of theories about the why’s and wherefore’s for teaching handwork and teaching it in the specific order that Waldorf schools do. Honestly, I’m not going to get into all of that, as others have done such a good job of explaining it much better than I could. If you are interested in reading more about Waldorf handwork philosophy and theory, try these posts:

First Grade Handwork - Teaching Children to Knit | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsWhy We Do Handwork in Our Homeschool

My primary reason to work on handwork with Sola is for hand-eye coordination. Sola was born with severe exotropia (outward wandering eye) and already has had one surgery to correct the problem. Her eye alignment is much better, but we she still struggles with eye tracking, depth perception, and hand-eye coordination. So I place a pretty big emphasis on handwork in our homeschool.

First Grade Handwork - Teaching Children to Knit | from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsTeach Yourself to Knit First

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to convince you to pursue handwork with your child, but to HELP you be able to pursue handwork with your child. It is important to note that in Waldorf schools, children are taught using the English knitting method, which forces the hands to cross the midline and is really good for developing brains (it’s good for all brains really). If you don’t already know how to knit, it is not hard to teach yourself while teaching your child to knit, just try to stay at least one week ahead of your child.

Resources for Teaching Kids (and Yourself) to Knit

The books I use to teach Sola knitting are:


If you can only purchase one book, I’d recommend either Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages.

First Grade Handwork Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is intended to be done over the full course of the school year, or 36 weeks. It can be done in lesson blocks, as they do often in Waldorf schools, or can be done as a daily or weekly skill you practice. But, as with all subjects, your child may work faster or slower than this, and that is okay. If all your child ever learns how to do is finger knit, he will be better off doing that than having no exposure to knitting at all. (You can download a printable version of our first grade handwork lesson plan here or by clicking the image below.)

First Grade Handwork Lesson Plan - Teaching Children to Knit | from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

  • Lesson 1 – Card wool
  • Lesson 2 – Spin wool with drop spindle
  • Lesson 3 – Dye yarn with natural dye
  • Lesson 4 – Finger knitting project of choice (Kids Knitting, page 18 and/or A First Book of Knitting for Children, pages 38 – 39, or there are 28 projects to choose from in Finger Knitting Fun)
  • Lesson 5 – Finger knitting project of choice
  • Lesson 6 – Finger knitting project of choice
  • Lesson 7 – Finger knitting project of choice
  • Lesson 8 – Knitting fork project of choice (watch this video about using a knitting fork or read this post about using a knitting fork if you have never used a knitting fork or need a refresher)
  • Lesson 9 – Knitting fork project of choice
  • Lesson 10 – Knitting fork project of choice
  • Lesson 11 – Knitting fork project of choice
  • Lesson 12 – Spool knitting project of choice (Kids Knitting, page 19)
  • Lesson 13 – Spool knitting project of choice
  • Lesson 14 – Spool knitting project of choice
  • Lesson 15 – Spool knitting project of choice
  • Lesson 16 – Make knitting needles (Kids Knitting, pages 20 – 22)
  • Lesson 17 – Make knitting needles
  • Lesson 18 – Make knitting needles
  • Lesson 19 – Make knitting needles
  • Lesson 20 – Learn how to cast on (Kids Knitting, pages 26 – 27 and/or Kids Knit, pages 22 – 23 and/or A First Book of Knitting for Children, pages 12 – 17)
  • Lesson 21 – Learn knit/garter stitch (Kids Knitting, pages 28 – 31 and/or Kids Knit, pages 24 and/or A First Book of Knitting for Children, pages 18 – 21)
  • Lesson 22 – Knit a wash cloth using knit/garter stitch (Kids Knit, page 31)
  • Lesson 23 – Knit a wash cloth using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 24 – Knit a wash cloth using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 25 – Knit a wash cloth using knit/garter stitch – learn to bind off and sew in ends, (Kids Knitting, page 33 and/or Kids Knit, pages 25 – 26 and/or A First Book of Knitting for Children, pages 35 – 37)
  • Lesson 26 – Knit a blanket for a stuffed animal or doll or multi colored scarf using knit/garter stitch and multiple colors of yarn – (Kids Knit, pages 42 – 43 for blanket or Cool Knitting for Kids, page 24, for scarf)
  • Lesson 27 – Knit a blanket for a stuffed animal or doll or multi colored scarf using knit/garter stitch and multiple colors of yarn
  • Lesson 28 – Knit a blanket for a stuffed animal or doll or multi colored scarf using knit/garter stitch and multiple colors of yarn
  • Lesson 29 – Knit a blanket for a stuffed animal or doll or multi colored scarf using knit/garter stitch and multiple colors of yarn
  • Lesson 30– Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch (Kids Knitting, pages 52 – 59 and/or Kids Knit, pages 44 – 46 and/or A First Book of Knitting for Children, pages 44 – 69 or Cool Knitting for Kids, page 22, for mittens or page 26 for felted bag)
  • Lesson 31 – Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 32 – Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 33 – Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 34 – Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 35 – Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch
  • Lesson 36 – Knit stuffed animal, doll, mittens or bag, using knit/garter stitch

Turning It Over to You

Do you knit? Do your kids knit? If not, the cozy months of winter are a great time to learn to knit and then you can ear your creations right away too!

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