I decided for the most recent "activity day" to teach the girls to crochet. I'm not really an expert myself, but I know enough to do what I like to do. So I picked up some extra yarn and a few crochet needles.
Ling Ling told me that in grade school in China they actually teach children how to knit. Well, at least they did when she was young. I actually think it's a good idea. Knitting is a very useful life skill. But crochet is less common here. I see people knitting sweaters and slippers all the time. They have a popular house shoe that they make and sell that has a foam backing on the bottom. Anyway, many Chinese learn these skills when they are young. The two older girls in my group had a little experience, but the youngest has been home schooled, so had no experience.
I really try not to discourage or belittle people who are learning a new skill. I try to just be positive and compliment any improvement. But I have to confess that I laughed out loud during the class because of the younger girl's lack of skill. It wasn't even that she couldn't figure out how to make the chains. I understand that, because she has never done any kind of handcrafts before; she hasn't learned to use her hands. But at one point, and I still am not sure how she did this, she yelled because she had tied her thumb up in the yarn! I couldn't help myself, and I laughed while I helped her untie it.
The older girls wanted to get on to the actual crochet, but their chains were still not very good. They wanted to leave the needles here so they could practice next time. But I told them to take them home so they could practice at home. I want to be able to teach them more next time! :)