I am showing my son, not yet two years old, to crochet and knit on a loom. Just hand-over-hand, we do a stitch and then he celebrates by jumping up and down and running off to do something else. And yes, there is a method to my madness.
I read an article in Guideposts Magazine about Ty Pennington, the guy who does Extreme Makeover Home Edition, where he talked about having severe ADHD and how he coped with it. Apparently the frenetic, hyperactive personality I see in the ads for the show (I've never actually watched it) is HIM. He is like that ALL THE TIME. That's just the way he is. As you can imagine, he ran his mother ragged. One day she sent him outside to run around, and he decided he was going to build a treehouse. But not just ANY treehouse, it was going to be the biggest and bestest treehouse EVER!! And he actually did, at the age of ten or twelve or so, both design and BUILD a very complex treehouse, when no one thought he had the focus or ability to do it.
I personally love to have something in my hands at all times. Watching television, visiting family, sitting at Bible Study, I crochet. Or now that I have a knitting loom, knit. And I've often wondered how different classrooms would be if instead of medicating children who won't/can't sit still, the teacher gave them a ball of string and a crochet hook. Cheaper, much more constructive, teaches a skill, no side effects. I really do believe that a LOT of children simply need to move, and 100 years ago when they were running outside and climbing trees during recess, this was not so much a problem. No one started talking about ADHD, SPD, all of that, until the 70s. Part of that is, they didn't have names for them - you just couldn't sit still, or you were just eccentric. But part of it also is that kids with a Need To Move got to MOVE. Now they have less recess, less gym, sometimes NO gym in the higher grades. No wonder Sammy just can't sit still. I wish I had video of Kittyboy in church with no trampoline, swing, etc beforehand, and in church when he's gotten plenty of movement already. Different kid.
Well, I got a knitting loom last night, and was playing around with it this morning. I dropped a stitch, so I took it all off, and Kittyboy sat down to play with the loom. But instead of just waving it around or running his fingers between the pegs, he put it upright in his lap, draped yarn over it, moved the yarn around a little, and then poked at it with the hook. Then he moved the yarn around some more, then poked it with the hook again. What the heck - why not! You can teach any simple thing if you do it enough with their hands in yours!
I'm going to get him his own crochet hook, K size or bigger, and a tiny little loom with maybe six pegs or so and a plastic hook for that. Then, instead of having to keep him off of me when I'm working, he can just take a turn on his own "project". And it only takes a stitch or two before his desire to "help" is satisfied, and he goes off to do something else.