YARNutopia was invited to share about our love of crochet at High Interest Day sponsored at a local Elementary School. High Interest Day (HID) is a way to expose kids to things they may learn to love. It’s also a way for students to see people who have worked hard and created careers based on their passions. We spent the morning talking about crochet and how my parents and I have made this small idea into a fun and inspiring career, blogging and vlogging YouTube crochet tutorials. It was a morning that flew by because, like it is always said, “time flies when you’re having fun!” And FUN was had by all.
My sister-in-law, Samantha, is a kindergarten teacher, and the school where she teaches hosted this dynamic event. She was part of the committee that organized this interactive day filled with many demonstrations where kids could participate and learn through hands-on activities. From chemistry fun, crochet demonstrations, yoga instruction, learning about snakes, or decorating cookies, each segment offered the opportunity to get the children involved in thinking creatively of ways to make hobbies and activities they love into a possible ‘someday’ career. With so many bloggers making careers on the internet, it was a good fit to participate and teach children how they can develop a craft and turn it into a career. The children were various ages ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade.
The kids were given the chance to participate in three workshops throughout the day. They could pick their top five choices of offered interests, and then they were assigned to attend three of those top choices. In our workshop we had three different 40 minute sessions with approximately 12 children in each group. It was a perfect size to give every child a chance to work with yarn and a crochet hook. They loved getting a feel of how it is to crochet and create with YARN!
The classroom I was teaching in offered me access to the internet as well as a document camera, or doc cam, to project my hands on a big screen to help the kids see up close. I started out sharing what I do and how I began crocheting as well as sharing photos of my various projects. The Beauty and the Beast costumes and baby items were big hits with everyone. It was fun to hear the kids shout “You made THAT!!!??” And then following that with “I want to learn how to make stuff like that!”
My dad was hamming it up with the kids when I was sharing how my videos demonstrate the patterns. I used my Watermelon Bib as an example and had a prototype of the bib to show the ‘finished product.’ Of course, being my dad, he has to add his silly antics and get the kids laughing. And laugh they did when they saw a grown man modeling a baby bib!! I was able to play the video while showing the children basics of what I do, how we film, walking step-by-step through a tutorial and skipping to the end, ending up with a great finished product.
Once we covered those basics it was time to get hands on! We provided crochet hooks and yarn balls for each child and I demonstrated using the doc cam on how to make a basic chain. My parents, Samantha, and I were able to go around to each child and help them with this technique. The classroom ran the gamut of emotions once we got started. In each group, there were kids who caught on right away, others not so much, and a couple even ended up near or in tears. It pretty much sounds like all of us when we start out crocheting for the first time, am I right??
Samantha explained there’s a huge emphasis in education right now on helping students develop a “growth mindset.” Learning a new skill is a great way for them to understand that mistakes help them learn and that they need to push past frustration and setbacks if they want to grow. We saw that in our sessions with students who cried or got frustrated. They’re working on developing grit and learning it’s okay if something doesn’t come easily the first time they try. From an educational standpoint, that’s what HID is about. We watched many push through and stick with it to accomplish making a foundation chain. Once they were able to get the hang of it, we fastened off and made the chain into a bracelet. They were pretty excited about this small take-away from the session.
Over half of the students have families who work very hard to meet their basic needs, and these students may not have the opportunities or resources to explore their interests. HID is an opportunity for them to explore possibilities that were presented in these sessions that they may have never considered otherwise. The program was appreciated by all, and it meant a lot to the kids and has lasting impact.
Volunteering and participating in these activities can really take the art and craft of crochet to an entirely new level. The beauty of what we do can reach further than the items we create. It can open up a whole new world.
On this day of Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for this experience to share my passion with so many children that were as eager to learn as I was to teach. In a world that is not always kind, I was given such a gift and watched kids of all ages work together helping one another as they learned to crochet. It is a moment that warmed my heart and will stay with me for a long time to come.
I want to extend a special Thank You to my sister-in-law Samantha, the school, and especially the children for the invitation and welcome I was given as a presenter for HID. I appreciate being provided a platform to explore this opportunity and share my craft with everyone. It means so much to me to get involved in such an important program and share the love of crochet with so many growing minds. I loved it!