Embroidery is a craft that anyone can learn. It’s particularly good for children for many reasons.
Using a needle and thread helps children develop coordination. It can teach a child to concentrate and focus. It also allows for the expression of their creativity. Creating their own designs and completing them helps build self-confidence.
It’s a perfect way to get the kids away from the TV, mobile phones, tablets and PCs that seem to be taking over life today. Not only will they learn a new skill, but a skill they can continue to develop for a lifetime.
It’s an excellent way to have some calm downtime after a busy school day, or stave off boredom during time off. It allows a parent or grandparent to get some bonding time with a child.
If you don’t embroider already, it’s a fun thing for you to learn together. We tend to live a busy lifestyle. Scheduling in some embroidery lessons allows you to connect with your child and spend some valuable time together.
Before You Get Started
So, it’s time to get started planning those lessons. When engaging children in something new, it’s important to go slowly. Make sure you have everything you need before you start.
There are a number of things you will want to have on hand. Firstly, the fabric—a medium weight white cotton fabric is a good choice. Alternatively, use some white poplin or trigger cloth. You want the material to be sturdy and thick enough to hoop and work with. You don’t, however, want it to be too stiff.
Instead of fabric, when you first start, you could consider using a styrofoam plate. This is an excellent medium for kids to practice stitches on before moving to a fabric.
When it comes to the yarn, use embroidery floss or pearl cotton threads. Thicker threads will be easier for a child to see the stitches they create. Also get a selection of fun, bright colors.
When starting out, it’s good for a child to have a choice of colors they will like. However, try and restrict this to about five at first so the designs don’t get too complicated.
With younger children, needles can be an issue. They can be difficult for a child to grip and control, and they also have a sharp point. Tapestry needles are blunted and might be a better choice. Just make sure they will penetrate the fabric easily.
If it’s too hard for your child using a tapestry needle there, try an assortment of embroidery needles. The thicker the needle, the easier it will be to hold.
An embroidery hoop is an essential piece of kit. It will hold the material taut for your child to work on. Just think about the weight and size. It needs to be light and small enough for our little humans’ hands to hold. You can get some nice brightly colored hoops which kids might like more, and there’s a cool blue for boys.
Scissors are an item that will need careful consideration. While they are necessary, for safety reasons, make sure they are kid-friendly. You can find scissors with blunt ends that are designed for young children to use.
It’s a good idea to keep a pack of baby wipes or towelettes nearby, to clean your child’s hands and stop their work from being soiled.
Find designs which are appropriate for your child’s age. A good place to look might be in one of their coloring books. You could even draw freehand or trace around a shaped cookie cutter. Trace or draw the design onto the fabric before starting. You can do this using a water-soluble marker pen or an iron-on pencil.
If you don’t want to buy all the items individually, there are some great kits available out there. These will give you all the necessary supplies. We will give you some details of these a little later.
Teaching a Child to Embroider
Now that you have all your equipment at hand, you’re ready to get started. There a few things to bear in mind when teaching a child a new skill.
Remember, they know nothing about embroidery. Instructions should be simple and you need to start with the basics. Briefly explain to them what each piece of equipment is for. Don’t drone on too much; they will only lose interest.
Safety is also an aspect that needs to be considered. Scissors and needles can be sharp, so instruct your child how to use them and store them properly.
Make sure you and your child wash your hands before starting. It’s a good practice to get into to keep your projects clean.
The next thing is to show them what to do, in simple steps. It might be best if initially you thread the needle for them, this can be quite fiddly for small fingers.
Keep the stitches simple. Start out by showing them a stitch and then get them to copy it. Ideal starter stitches are running stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, and chain stitch. These will give a child a good foundation to build on.
Remember to practice stitches on styrofoam plates or scrap fabric first. Once they have mastered them, then move onto a project. Their first project could be to draw a simple design of their own on a styrofoam plate and then stitch it.
Keep in mind, the simpler the design, the more likely the child is to succeed. If something takes too long for them to see results, they might become overwhelmed and lose interest.
For this reason, keep your lessons short. Our little ones have a shorter attention span than us. Try and choose a time when your child is not too tired and has plenty of energy. It will be a good way to calm them down.
It’s good to have lots of patience, the chances are kids won’t get it right the first time. Lots of praise and encouragement will keep them going. However, if they appear to have had enough, cut the session short and come back to it another day.
Learning can sometimes be more fun with a friend. Maybe you could invite one of their pals over and teach them both at the same time.
Once your child has completed their first project, you can proudly put it on display. You could even treat them to something. Maybe an embroidery kit, or a book about embroidery.
However, the most important factor could be your praise and encouragement. It will likely motivate your child onto the next project.
Be sure to keep things positive and fun throughout the learning experience. Don’t admonish your child when they make mistakes, after all, it’s the best way to learn.
If you are experienced with embroidery, you can continue to teach your child new stitches and skills. If not, see if your local craft store has embroidery classes for kids. Learning more in a group with other kids can keep them interested and challenge them.
There are some excellent videos on YouTube which can help you get started when teaching your child to embroider. This one shows you how to do the basic stitches suitable for kids:
Benefits of Learning Embroidery
We have already mentioned some of the benefits such as hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and development of creativity. Embroidering also helps kids focus and concentrate.
Kids from about the age of four upwards can learn to do simple embroidery. Your teens can personalize some of their own items like T-shirts, caps, and bags. It will give your child a sense of achievement and boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Embroidery is also something that can be done anywhere at any time. Off on a long car journey or to the lake for the weekend, take the embroidery along. After all, it needs no power (unless you are doing machine embroidery) and can give your child some valuable downtime.
3 Great Embroidery Kits to Get You Started
Earlier we mentioned embroidery kits. These are an excellent, affordable way to get all the things your child needs to get started on their first embroidery project.
They have the fabric, needles, threads, hoops, scissors, and instructions. Here are some very good examples of these kits:
ALEX Toys Craft My Embroidery Kit
This kit from Alex toys is suitable for children aged seven and above. It contains instructions and materials suitable for an introduction to embroidery
There are 15 buttons, embroidery thread in 10 different colors, beads, and 75 more essentials. These include fabric, needles, scissors, an embroidery hoop, and a headband project.
It is all presented in a keepsake storage tin which is perfect for keeping everything in one place.
- Learn 12 easy stitches
- Colorful keepsake tin storage box
- Dr Toy 2013 Best Picks Parents' Choice Approved Award winner
4M Embroidery Stitches Kit
This embroidery stitching kit from 4M has everything needed to get your children started on embroidery. There are instructions outlining basic embroidery stitches which are easy to follow.
Included are an embroidery hoop and six spools of embroidery floss. There are also two outline templates, three canvas sheets, two plastic needles, and pillow stuffing. All you need to embroider an owl or a butterfly and turn these into a bag or mini pillow.
The recommended age is nine years and older, however, younger children might also find this a fun project. It is not recommended for anyone under three years old.
- Learn basic embroidery stitches and create beautiful designs with outline stencils.
- This set contains 1 set of embroidery hoops, 6 spools of colored embroidery floss, 3 sheets of embroidery canvas, 2 outline templates, 2...
- This kit makes a 14cm X 14cm mini pillow or a mini bag.
Caydo Embroidery Starter Kit with Operating Instructions for Adults and Kids
This embroidery starter kit is brought to us by Caydo and has all the essentials when you’re starting out. It has two bamboo hoops in two sizes, perfect for you to learn to embroider at the same time as your child.
There are 50 different colored embroidery flosses, and 30 embroidery needles in three sizes. In also includes white cotton fabric, needle threading tools, scissors, thimbles, floss bobbins, and more.
There is also an informative instruction leaflet to help you with stitches.
- A Complete Starter's Kit: Come with everything you need for cross stitch; Just with this kit, you can finish a nice embroidery
- 2 Size Embroidery Hoops: 9.6 inch (24.3cm) and 4 inch (10cm) embroidery hoops, large and small sizes to meet your different need
- Including Instructions: Can guide you on how to embroider, just follow the steps we show on the instructions, it will make your embroidery...
The 10 Best Embroidery Books for Kids
Once your child gets started on embroidery, there are many books which can help them progress. They will provide step-by-step, easy to follow instructions with illustrations or pictures.
Once you have taught your child the basics, these are an excellent choice for them to work on projects alone.
The designs they include are suitable projects for children and will keep them interested and engaged. These are our best choices for books which can help our kids with their embroidery.
Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners
- Fresh and fun craft book with embroidery projects
- Written to help you get started or to learn something new
- Comes with easy to follow instructions
This book from Doodle Stitching is good for both beginners and more experienced embroiderers. The step-by-step directions are clear and easy to follow. The whimsical designs are fresh and inspiring.
There are 30 projects using simple stitches to pique your interest, as well as tips about all aspects of embroidery. This is a book your child will love to use when they embark on their embroidery.
The Amazing Stitching Handbook for Kids
- C&T Publishing-FunStitch Studio: Stitching Handbook For Kids
- Give your young designer the gift of learning how to embroider and personalize almost anything
- From the basics of traditional needlepoint to the skills of free-form embroidery, this book encourages kids to unplug from technology and...
This charming book is perfect for learning how to embroider. It has 15 projects which will have kids embroidering using a variety of stitches. They can decorate their phone cases or create tags for their backpacks.
The clear, easy to follow instructions will allow kids to personalize items in their own style.
My First Embroidery Book: A Name Sampler
- Used Book in Good Condition
- Winky Cherry
- Publisher: Palmer/Pletsch Publishing
This book uses illustration and rhymes suitable for children aged five and over. The projects encourage children to take their time and enjoy embroidering. There are charts and guides for children to follow.
Cross stitch is the main focus for teaching kids to stitch letters, borders, and hearts. The book comes complete with an embroidery hoop, five colors of thread, gingham fabric, and flannel backing.
Embroidery (Kids Can Do It)
- Used Book in Good Condition
- Judy Ann Sadler
- Publisher: Kids Can Press
Author Judy Sadler uses simple drawings and easy to follow, clear instructions in this book. It’s perfect for anyone learning embroidery. Both kids and adults can pick up basic stitches and complete easy projects.
This is an excellent book for parents or teachers to share with children who want to learn embroidery.
Embroidery for Little Miss Crafty
- Helen Dardik
- Publisher: Walter Foster Pub
- Paperback: 96 pages
This beginner’s guide outlines all the equipment needed for embroidery and details the basic stitches. The projects are fun and easy, and the step-by-step instructions are clear and concise.
Templates are provided for each design. There are also useful illustrations, making this the perfect book for new embroiderers.
Kids’ Embroidery: Projects for Kids of All Ages
- Used Book in Good Condition
- Kristin Nicholas
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
This book is suitable for children of reading age and over. There are 15 easy to follow, fun projects with step-by-step instructions. Full-color photographs clearly show how things are done.
There are also fun educational sidebars detailing some history of embroidery. An excellent choice of book for kids wanting to start embroidery, or parents wanting to learn with their children.
All About Embroidery (Kid Made Modern)
- Todd Oldham
- Publisher: AMMO Books
- Paperback: 32 pages
The Kids Made Modern books explain and demystify classic art and craft techniques. This one on embroidery has step-by-step, easy to follow instructions. It outlines the basic stitches and techniques.
There are 10 simple-to-follow projects, including a spider web design for T-shirts and an embroidered pegboard.
Klutz Tiny Stitches Kit
- Klutz-Tiny Stitches Kit
- Super simple stitching you can show off in a snap! Instructions and supplies for quick hip adorable tiny embroidery pieces with mini hoops...
- Each sold separately. Imported
This book is ideal for slightly older children, aged 10 and up. It has 48 spiral bound pages displaying over 100 patterns and instructions for simple quick projects. It also includes supplies for 25 mini projects.
As well as an embroidery hoop, there are three mini-hoops which can be turned into wearable jewelry or tags to display their handiwork. Also included are ten pieces of fabric and eight different colored embroidery flosses. In addition, there are two embroidery needles, a stylus, and tracing paper.
Doodle Stitching Transfer Pack
- Lark Books-Doodle Stitching Transfer Pack
- Aimee Ray
- Publisher: Lark Crafts
This charming book from illustrator Aimee Ray contains 300 iron-on designs for embroidery. Each design is reusable and there is a pocket in the book where they can be stored.
The book also has step-by-step instructions for embroidery stitches. If you’re not a great artist, this book is perfect. It has designs divided by category, including flowers, animals, balloons, and many more. Many of the motifs are simple and suitable for beginners.
Fun with Stitchables!: Easy patterns to cross-stitch and sew
- Suzy Ultman
- Publisher: Walter Foster Jr
- Edition no. 0 (07/25/2016)
This book is a perfect introduction to embroidery for younger children. Designed to help develop their hand-eye coordination in a fun way, it has cross stitch cards with punched holes ready to sew. Children as young as four years old will have great fun creating with this book.
There are 16 pages dedicated to projects which develop a child’s creativity and imagination. The completed work can be turned into anything, from ornaments to greeting cards, to name but a few options.
Teaching our little people to embroider can be a fun and rewarding experience for them as well as for us. It allows quality time to be spent with kids and encourages them to learn something new. In fact, embroidery is something they might enjoy for many years to come.
I remember my mother teaching me how to embroider at a very young age. Starting out with simple cross stitch cards, and progressing to projects using an embroidery hoop and thread.
It was a pastime we would sit and do together for hours at a time, sometimes with my younger brother joining in as well. She was always there to help and encourage, and put me right when I went wrong, which in the beginning was quite often.
I cherish those memories and the skills my mother passed on to me, as well as the quality time it gave us together. It’s something that I then did with my own daughter, and she has done with her daughter too.
Skills learned at a young age encourage and motivate us. They enable us to embrace our creativity. Embroidery projects created many years ago are still on display in our homes, it’s a skill passed on from generation to generation.