Teaching Children to Sew – The Parents Guide

Sewing is a fun and useful skill for kids to learn. There are a lot of great resources that parents can use to help teach their kids if they aren’t quite sure where to start. We have found the best websites with lessons, books for kids, free online videos, and even some recommendations for kids sewing machines.

sewing for kids

To teach children, it would be helpful for parents to know a bit about the basics, like how to thread and use a sewing machine and how to fix things if there is a problem. If you aren’t quite sure or need a refresher on how to use a machine, check this out.

The Best Sewing Books for Kids

An excellent place to start is with a great instructional book, and there is no shortage of books written just for kids. Here are some of the best:

  • Simply Sewing (Kids Can Do It)  by Judy Ann Sadler and Jane Kurisu has a good introduction to hand sewing basics, including all the stitches kids should know. It also has an easy to understand intro to machine basics. Then it moves on to simple but fun projects that kids will be able to complete. All of the projects are broken down into manageable steps with detailed illustrations.
  • My First Sewing Machine Book: Learn To Sew: Kids by Alison McNicol is an excellent choice if you are looking for a book with lots of information for kids who have a new machine. It has very clear illustrations that will help kids quickly learn to use and thread their machine. It also has fun projects for kids to try out.
  • My First Machine Sewing Book: Straight Stitching by Winky Cherry is a smaller book, but it is still a good choice for a child who is just beginning to use a machine. This book goes over parts of the machine, how to take care of it, how the needle works, how the bobbin works, how to do different types of stitches, and then finishes with a simple star project that kids can work on. It is part of a series of books that includes My First Sewing Book: Hand Sewing, My First Embroidery Book, and My First Doll Book.
  • Sewing School by Andria Lisle and Amie Plumleyis great how-to book for kids ages five and up. The authors have a blog here that has some info about the book. A lot of the projects in this book can be done using just hand stitches. Each project features step-by-step instructions written at a second-grade reading level, a close-up photo of every step, and a picture of the finished project. The book includes a full-sized cut out patterns and instructions for how grown-ups can help. There is also Sewing School 2 if you love this book and want more projects.

Online Sewing Classes or Lessons for Kids

There are plenty of wonderful websites with free lessons that can help you teach your kids. Here are some sites that we like:

  • Kids Sewing Projects has fantastic information for parents who are looking to teach their kids. We especially like their pre-beginner lessons.
  • Kids Sewing is another excellent site that has great tips on how to get started, primarily in the form of free online videos that you can watch. They also have a DVD series to teach kids.
  • Skip to my Lou has a great series of posts that have easy projects that kids can do and some great activities that can help kids learn how to use a machine.

Sewing DVDs for Kids

If you are looking for a DVD to help kids here are a couple that we found:

  • Kids Sewing is the first DVD in a 7 part series that is made for kids to learn how to sew. You can see a preview of it here.
  • Yes, I Can Sew!: Hand Sewing is the companion to My First Sewing Book(the hand sewing one, not the machine sewing book) by Winky Cherry. It’s a short video with only 32 minutes of content, but it has some useful info for a beginner (check your local library for this DVD). Part one of the video teaches children about the tools and materials involved in sewing, how to thread needles, and the process of sewing and stuffing the felt bird. They watch as a book is being read to them with live-action of children sewing inserted where appropriate to hold attention. Part two features a young boy hand sewing his stuffed bird, and part three shows children how to make their very own patterns for future projects.

Best Sewing Machines for Kids

If you already have a machine that you are comfortable with your child using, then there is no need to buy another machine. If you don’t have a machine, or just don’t want your kids using your machine and would like to get something small that is affordable and easy for your child to use, there are lots of options. Whatever you do, DON’T buy a ‘toy’ sewing machine, they are terrible and generally don’t work. Some of the machines that are often mentioned as good choices for kids include:

  • Janome 11706 3/4 Size Hello Kitty Sewing Machine is a fun, 3/4 size, easy to use beginner machine for kids. It has eleven stitches and a four-step buttonhole. Its 12-lb weight and carry handle makes it okay for kids to move around, yet it is a good quality, sturdy, and very durable machine.
  • Janome Sew Mini 2-Stitch Sewing Machine is a good, affordable, and easy to use machine that is ideal for kids. One of the neat things about it is that it goes at a slow speed, so if you have ever tried to teach a child on a regular machine, you will know that speed control can be a bit of a problem. This is also a very easy machine to thread.   The controls are basic and straightforward, and this is another machine that is light enough for kids to carry around themselves.
  • Brother LS2125i Easy-to-Use, Everyday Sewing Machine is another good quality machine for a low price that is so easy to use; it is perfect for kids. It is a full size, yet lightweight enough for kids to be able to move around.

Free online Sewing Lessons for Kids

Kids Sewing Videos

photo credit: Pinot & Dita via photopin cc


Tips on How to Teach Kids to Sing

If your little ones love to sing and you’ve been wondering about some ways to teach your kids to sing in tune at home, we have some great resources for parents to check out.

You might want to keep in mind that there are various opinions on when and if children should be taught to sing. Some professional voice teachers don’t like to introduce very young children to sing for fear of damaging their voices, while others think this theory is out of date, and it is fine to begin to teach children how to use their voice. However you feel about it, you can always check out some of the great online singing lessons, mp3s, DVDs, books, sites, and apps we found that can help children learn to sing and then make up your mind.


Free Online Singing Lessons for Kids

There are some excellent free online singing lessons available at Kathie Hill Music. They are fun and easy for kids to watch and learn some proper techniques.

Or check out this short lesson on pitch from Kids Music Workshop.

Kids Vocal Lessons on CD or MP3

Another option would be to try Voice Lessons To Go for Kids! It is the first volume of Ariella Vaccarino’s popular Voice Lessons To Go series designed for Kids. The volume begins with advice on healthy singing, including words on posture, breathing, and diction. Vocal warm-ups follow in patterns broken up into three separate vocalizes 1. singing numbers (123), 2. singing syllables (la), and 3. singing solfege (do re mi). Musical terms such as major scales, chords, octaves, staccato, and legato are sung through and explained.

Singing Lessons for Kids Course/DVD

  • If you are looking for a DVD course, check out Singing Made Easy. This program is designed to help beginners learn the proper way to sing. There is a “teaching point” for each song to help the singer learn the most essential things. The students can sing along with the voice tracks until they know the pieces and then with the accompaniment tracks only.
  • You could also try Teaching Kids to Sing DVD that can help you teach your children all the foundations from Posture, Breathing, Tone, Rhythm, Diction, and more. The cast includes Chris & Carole Beatty and a group of children ages 5 to 13. The CD contains all the music used on the two DVDs in two versions: With vocals and track only. This allows your young singers to learn and then perform the songs.

Books to help kids learn to sing

  • Songs Children Can Sing has the lyrics, melody, and chord symbols for eight songs (Getting to Know You /Happy Talk/ I Whistle a Happy Tune/My Favorite Things /The Sound of Music/Take Me Out to the Ball Game /This Land Is Your Land /Tomorrow.) The CD contains demos for listening and separate backing tracks so you can sing along. The CD is playable on any CD player but also enhanced so Mac & PC users can adjust the recording to any pitch without changing the tempo.
  • Singing Lessons for Little Singers: Level A – Very Young Beginner Series for children ages 4 to 7 teaches professional singing techniques and fundamental musicianship skills. It includes topics like breath support vocal registration (high/low voice), vowels and diction, resonate tone quality, intonation (singing in tune), solfege scale and intervals, beat and rhythm, and reading music. Singing Lessons for Little Singers: A 3-in-1 Voice, Ear-Training and Sight-Singing Method for Children by the same author is also highly recommended.
  • Sing After Me has echo songs to help young vocalists learn to sing with practically perfect pitch and deliberate diction. The book includes a sing-a-long and demonstration CD, reproducible student worksheets for classroom use, and movement, art, and language activities for each song. Vocalists can echo the leader provided on the CD or sing the melodies using the accompaniment tracks. These melodies will help young singers improve vocal independence, pitch, and diction. Ages 6-12.
  • The Book of Pitch Exploration for ages 3 to 7 years. This book allows children to discover these sounds through ideas, poems, stories, and songs that invite vocal participation from all involved. These fun activities are also excellent vocal warm-ups.

Websites to Help Kids Learn to Sing

  • Teaching Kids to Sing specializes in educational music resources for early childhood and elementary-aged children: ready-to-use songs, games, and teaching resources you can download immediately and use with your children today.
  • Sing Up has resources and ideas to make singing part of every child’s learning. It is primarily aimed at schools, but parents can also use some of the resources available to teach kids to sing at home.
  • Music Theory has an excellent exercise for ear training.

Learn to Sing Apps for Kids

We couldn’t find many apps to teach singing that was explicitly designed for kids, but there are some fantastic apps out there for adults that can help improve kids singing as well. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Sing Harmonies Free is a great app that is helpful to teaching kids to sing harmony by playing and muting individual voices while playing 4- part vocal arrangements of Lean On Me, Teach Your Children, and Proud Mary.
  • Staraoke was one of the few great apps we found that kids can use to help improve their singing. It is an iPad game where a player controls a character on the screen with a picture of his/her voice. The Staraoke software recognizes the singer’s pitch. If you sing correctly, the character stays on the path, and you ramp up points. This game comes with three popular kids’ songs, “Brother John”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Old MacDonald had a farm”.
  • VocalizeU Lite is a singer essential training kit including live vocal experts a vocal recorder, vocal journal, pitch and ear training programs, and adjustable warm-ups.
  • Voice Builder has its users vocalize to a tone that is always in perfect pitch. volume & pitch guides, over 20 voice-building sessions for both male and female singers
  • Voice Tutor helps you determine your particular vocal challenge by having you sing scales and then listening to four different examples. These four examples demonstrate the four different voice types, making it easy for you to determine what your particular vocal challenge is. This app also has four sets of exercises (each containing over an hour of lessons), a pitch meter to check your pitch as you sing through your lessons, a full vocal warm-up, and also a breathing exercise section to help you significantly increase your breath control.
  • Do Re Mi Ear Training and Voice Training are great apps to show how to teach kids to sing on pitch. They have tons of customizable settings that let you work on intervals, relative pitch, perfect pitch, and use a variety of notation types.


Teaching Kids how to Knit

There are a couple of different ways to go about teaching kids to knit. If you would like to teach younger kids, you might want to start with French or finger knitting because they are much easier than regular and can help with building up confidence. Then when that has been mastered, you can give knitting with needles a try. With that in mind, here is our guide on how to teach kids to knit.


French Knitting using a Knitting Nancy

A Knitting Nancy (also called a Ned, Spool, Tower, or a Knobby) is an excellent device for children because it teaches the essentials, but it is much easier than needles for small hands to use because it holds the child’s stitches while their fingers can move the yarn.

MamaMoontime has instructions on how to make your own Knitting Nancy out of a tree branch and how to use it.

Or if you aren’t quite up to a DIY project you can buy a Nancy along the lines of these guys:

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You often see a version of knitting Nancys in toy stores in the craft section. It may take a little bit of time for a child to used get to using a Nancy, but they are generally very child friendly.

A Clover Wonder Knitter makes working with yarn easy for kids, and it comes with a 3 and 6 pin removable head. Most kids love that it isn’t complicated and is very easy to use.

Finger Knitting

If French knitting isn’t something that your child wants to do, maybe give Finger Knitting a try, all you need is some wool and your … (can you guess?) fingers! It’s very easy for small kids and lots of fun once you get the hang of it. The easiest way to learn is to watch someone doing it, so here are some excellent instructional online videos:

Knitting (with Needles)

Okay, here we go, now we are getting down to some serious business. If you are teaching a younger child (ages 7-10), you will want to use smaller needles, try to get a size 7 or 8 that are wooden or bamboo because the yarn can slip off the metal needles. You will also want to start with good quality, thick wool, or acrylic yarn, so it is more comfortable for kids to hold.
One of the best series that we came across for teaching kids is called No-Rules Knitting at the Teen Knit Cafe. It’s a lot of fun and super clear with the instructions. It’s supposed to be for teens, but we think it’s suitable for all ages. You can check out full DVD or some of the online videos that have been posted.

There are also some kits you can check out that are bright and colorful and might help get kids excited about learning. One you may want to consider is the Alex Chunky and Funky Scarf Beginner’s Kit in Box, it has crazy wide needles that look pretty cool. They also offer a few videos that show some basic techniques that are useful and simple for kids to follow, even if you don’t get this kit.

The Best Books and DVDs for Kids

  •  Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages by Melanie Falick is a book that teaches kids of all ages using straightforward language, step-by-step instructions, and bright illustrations. Kids will learn all the basics, including finer knitting, casting on and binding in the round and shaping.
  • DVD The Art of Knitting 4 Kids Kit for ages 5+ that has three different options for teaching kids. There is a promo video you can check out that explains it all. This set is very well-reviewed.


Teaching Kids to Cook

Teaching your kids to cook is probably one of the most useful things that a parent can do for their children. There are lots of great resources that parents can use to help their kids learn about food and cooking. We have rounded up the best cookbooks, cooking shows, websites, and apps that are perfect for kids to help them learn all about cooking.

kids cooking

The Best Cookbooks for Kids

There are too many wonderful cookbooks for kids to choose from, so we decided to find the best cookbook for kids ages 3-7 and the best cookbook for kids ages 7+.

The Best Cookbook for Kids Ages 3-7

Our favorite cookbook for kids ages 3-7 is Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up. This is a fantastic cookbook for kids. One of the authors of this book, Mollie Katzen, is well known for involvement with the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.

We couldn’t find anyone saying anything bad about this book. Most of the reviews comment on how fun to make the recipes are and how well-illustrated the book is.
The Best cookbook for kids ages 7+
For older kids ages 7+, there is a bit more selection, so it was much harder picking our favorite cookbook for kids. The book we ended up choosing is The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes.

People who know food and cooking love this cookbook. This book is mentioned on posts or articles about the best cookbooks for kids on The Chicago Tribune, Grandparents.com, The Independent, TheKitchn, Babyology, Forkandbottle, and many others.
The best thing about this book seems to be that it gives children recipes to cook and eat that are ‘adult’ food, so although they’re presented in a fun and colorful way, the recipes themselves don’t pander to the notion that there is specific ‘child’ food.

*** As a side note, if your kids need a little bit more of a push to get them into cooking, you can try one of the many niche cookbooks that are available for kids. Here is a brief list of some of the ones that look good to us: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory, Fancy Nancy: Tea Parties, Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes and some of the Star Wars cookbooks including Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook and The Star Wars Cookbook II -Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes.

Best Cooking Websites for Kids

If cookbooks aren’t your thing, there are some great websites around that give wonderful video demos or ideas for cooking with kids, here are just a few of our favorites:

  • Weelicious is one of our favorite sites that has some satisfying recipes and great videos with kids helping out in the kitchen.
  • Kitchen Monsters is a very kid-friendly site that has a nice option that groups recipes by difficulty level, and the recipes look delicious.

Cooking Shows and Webisodes for Kids

One of the easiest ways to get inspired to cook or learn about cooking is by watching a cooking show, and luckily there are lots of great online cooking series or videos for kids or featuring kids to choose from:

  • Kids Who Love to Cook has excellent videos featuring kids that show various recipes, cooking tips, and also cooking trips to find out where the food comes from(such as how to make cheese and how urban honey is made).
  • Hey Kids Lets Cook This is the website for the PBS kids show.
  • Telmo and Tula –Little Cooks Short cooking shows with the animated character Telmo and Tula – Little Cooks

For older kids/teens try:

  • Kickin Kitchen is a fun show for preteens that “brings kids and cooking together.”
  • Tastebuds TV has video games and recipes based on the terrific TVO cooking show for kids.

Cooking Apps for Kids

As most people know, cooking apps are super handy when you are in the kitchen and looking for a recipe. A few that are fun for kids to try are:

  • Cooking With Kids has over 90 child-friendly recipes and is designed to show kids just how much fun cooking for themselves can be. Easy-to-follow, and nicely illustrated, it will help teach children cooking skills to help them learn to love cooking.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 Interactive Cookbook is a fun cookbook for kids that has Kung Fu Panda recipes, cooking demonstration videos, clips from the movie, cool animations, and much more.