Preemie Caps

Usually during my child development unit I cover from conception up to the age of three. I take a lot of time focusing on prenatal development and the importance of nutrition through out the pregnancy. We also discuss premature babies and how common it is for them to survive.  I felt as if the children didn’t truly understand the size of a premature baby until I presented them with the Preemie Caps project.  Using the sewing machine students will make very basic stitches to make hats for premature babies that eventually get donated to a local Children’s Hospital.

Time Frame: 2 – 42 minute periods


  • Identify characteristics of preemie development, causes, and concerns
  • Practice basic sewing skills, apply time management, and develop efficiency in repetitive processes



  • Sewing Machines
  • Thread & Sewing Supplies
  • Remember: Preemie babies have very soft skulls so fabric that stretches easily should be used for this project.

Background for Teachers

  • Below is the direction sheet that I give the students, as well as the pattern for the preemie caps.  There are actually two patterns on the second page of the document.  One is for a larger preemie cap and the second is a smaller preemie cap.  I usually let the students master the larger cap before allowing them to attempt the smaller one. I explained how to complete the caps during the first day of this assignment (it could be more or less depending on the sewing experience that the students have).  I had two sections of this class so I made it a competition between the two to see how many hats they could make.  All students were required to complete two hats which took them approximately two 42 minutes periods.  I allowed them to have five days and they completed over 100 hats! The winning section got to come with me to donate them to the hospital.  Although we could not go see the preemie babies, the staff showed us diapers, feeding tubes, and even the bottles they used!


  • Demonstrate how to make the hats


  • Working in pairs students should make the large preemie cap. Once that is complete and checked by the teacher students should make at least one small preemie cap.
  • The second class students work in competition mode to make as many high quality preemie caps as they can to beat the other class and win the prize of delivering them to the hospital.


  • Which group made the most preemie caps? How were you able to make so many? What things did you do to make the process more efficient? Did your quality suffer? Did anyone have quality control procedures or steps in place?



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