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11 Adorable Knitting Patterns for Children’s Hats You’ll Love Knitting

Toddlers to pre-teens need hats every bit as much as preemies and infants. You can knit them with these beautiful patterns for children’s hats (most of them free!)

It seems like whenever we think of charity knitting for young ones, we concentrate on babies and preemies and forget about the ones who are walking and talking.

Knitting patterns for babies seem to be everywhere; for children, not so much. 

But children are often in need too:

  • In poor households, children often go without hats, mittens, scarves.
  • In orphanages overseas, children can often use a nice pair of warm socks.
  • Children in traumatic situations can appreciate a warm blanket to snuggle up with.
  • Children suffering from childhood cancers could use soft, comfortable hats when they start losing their hair following treatment.

Let’s start with hats!

I love knitting hats. Why? One, you only have to knit one of them. Two, they’re small and easy to knit. Three, they’re a fun way to play with colors and stitch patterns. And finally, they go such a long way toward keeping children warm.

1. FAQs About Knitting Hats for Children

Good yarn fibers to use include wool, wool blend, and acrylic (especially if the acrylic is blended with wool). You can also use certain other animal fibers, like alpaca, as long as it’s blended with a more elastic fiber like nylon. Avoid inelastic fibers like cotton, as the hat will likely stretch out of shape.

As for the yarn weight, use the pattern as your guide.

This depends on the pattern you’re using and what weight of yarn the pattern calls for. For a pattern with worsted weight yarn, you can expect to cast on 60 to 70 stitches; for a pattern with a thinner yarn–let’s take DK, for instance–you’ll likely cast on 90 to 100 stitches.

Now, enjoy the collection of knitting patterns for children’s hats below!

Note: when I first published this collection, all the patterns below were free. Since then, however, some of them have been become paid patterns. I’ve kept the patterns in this collection because they’re wonderful patterns, and I firmly believe knitting designers should be rewarded!

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2. Free Knitting Patterns for Children’s Hats

Barley - Tin Can Knits
Barley
Photo: Tin Can Knits

Barley

  • What you’ll need to make it: 80 to 90 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 6 and 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This is one of the most popular free children’s hats pattern online. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s an easy knit, and the pattern offers sizes from baby to adult. You could conceivably create a hat each for everyone in a family–just like you see in the photo!
Garter Ear Flap Hat
Garter Ear Flap Hat
Photo: Purl Soho

It’s a terrific hat knitting pattern for beginners.

Garter Ear Flap Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 70 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 and 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: I can’t say enough about this adorable hat. I love everything about it, from the petite ear flaps to the lines radiating downward from the crown to the little frilly topper.
Antler Toque
Antler Toque
Photo: Tin Can Knits

Antler Toque

  • What you’ll need to make it: 150 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 6 and 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round); cable needle or spare DPN
  • Why you’ll want to: This is another multi-sized hat pattern. It features beautiful side panels of cables that look like antlers. Try not to be too daunted by the cables; the pattern features both written and charted instructions, and the abbreviations list and chart key make everything very clear.
Classic Cuffed Hat
Classic Cuffed Hat
Photo: Purl Soho

Classic Cuffed Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: About 250 yards (for hat with pom) or 170 yards (for hat without pom) of worsted weight yarn; US Size 5 and 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: It’s hard to improve upon a classic like the simple stocking cap with a wide cuff and a pom pom on top! It’s warm, snuggly, and adorable.

Little Scallops

  • What you’ll need to make it: 328 yards sport-weight yarn; US Size 2.5 or 3 DPNs and/or circular needle (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: If you have a few piles of leftover sport-weight yarn, this could be your perfect pattern to use it up! My favorite thing about this pattern is its pretty scallops design.

    (The pattern appears in both Swedish and English; just scroll down the page for the English version.)
Clayoquot Toque - Tin Can Knits
Clayoquot Toque
Photo: Tin Can Knits

Clayoquot Toque

  • What you’ll need to make it: DK weight yarn in 3 different colors: about 100 yards of a main color, 30 yards of one contrasting color, and 10 yards of a second contrasting color; US Size 4 and 6 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: Would you like to give Fair Isle a try? If so, you won’t find a better canvas than this one. This hat pattern’s toddler and child sizes are small enough to be far less intimidating when you’re contemplating seemingly complex colorwork.

Luuk

  • What you’ll need to make it: 80 to 90 yards worsted weight yarn (for toddler & child sizes); US Size 8 DPNs and/or circular needle (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This is one of the most forgiving hat patterns I’ve seen, in terms of sizing. Not only does its horizontal ribbing (you’ll alternate clusters of knitted rounds with clusters of purled rounds) make it stretchier, but it offers every size imaginable, from preemies to “large adults.” So you can knit it for tiny preemies as well as that notorious large-headed hard-to-fit relative.

    Best of all, it makes an adorable child’s hat!
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free hat knitting pattern for chiildren
Strib Hat Photo: Kelly Williams

Strib Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 120 to 125 yards worsted weight yarn (about 20 to 30 yards of this should be in 1 to 2 different colors, if you wish to create stripes); US Size 6 and 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round).
  • Why you’ll want to: For the joy of creating a quick, sweet, and simple striped and ribbed beanie.

3. More Delightful Children’s Hats Worth Knitting

Note: the patterns here are no longer free, but they’re too good not to take a look at! And they’re definitely worth the price.

Swirl Hat
Swirl Hat
Photo: Mandie Harrington

Swirl Hat

  • What you’ll need to knit it: 100 to 200 yards of fingering weight yarn; US Size 3 DPNs and/or circular needle (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: The swirling lines of this lovely hat pattern make it especially stylish. And it’s not just for girls, either; in a dark color like blue, green, brown, gray, or black, it’s just as suitable for boys. As a bonus, it’s sized for preemies to adults, so you can knit one for everyone you love as well as many for charity!
Basic Hats for Everyone
Basic Hats for Everyone
Photo: Purl Soho

Basic Hats for Everyone

  • What you’ll need to make it: 165 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 7 DPNs and/or circular needle (depending on how you like to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: When they say “basic hats for everyone,” they mean it! In 4 sizes (baby, child, small adult, large adult), and in 4 different styles (rolled brim, garter stitch brim, ribbed brim, and earflaps)), this could be the only hat pattern you ever need.

I Heart Cables

  • What you’ll need to knit it: 231 yards DK weight yarn; US Size 3 and 6 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you like to knit in the round); cable needle or spare DPN; stitch holder or scrap yarn
  • Why you’ll want to: This pattern has all the design features you could possibly want: cables, earflaps, adorable ties to keep the hat snugly on the head, and a sweet pom pom. If you’re a cable lover like I am, you’ll find this hat pattern a blast to knit!

Now that you’re well-equipped with a selection of the most charming knitting patterns for children’s hats, you can help equip children in need–or any child you love–with a darling hat to keep them warm!

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Children's Hat Knitting Patterns

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12 Comments

    1. All the patterns linked in this post are children’s hat patterns. Please let me know if any of the links are broken, I’ll be happy to fix them.

  1. Thanks for these patterns. I’ve made most of them and it’s a good reminder that cold weather is around the corner.

  2. If you need inspiration and a free pattern, go to the library and look at all the knitting books on offer there for checkout. If I fall in love with all the patterns in a certain book, I will go to a book store and order a copy to keep for my self. Your tax dollars help pay for your library so why not use it?

  3. Some of these patterns are discontinued and some of them are not free. They’re worth buying but shouldn’t be advertised as being available for free. After all designers should be paid.

    1. Thank you for letting me know, Karen. At the time I first put together the post, all the patterns were available and free, but sometimes designers choose to take down their patterns and/or start charging for them (which is, of course, their right and privilege, as designing patterns takes a lot of time and effort). I’ll be sure and change the post to reflect which patterns are not free. Thanks again!

  4. Great selection of hats for kids. I have made many of them for our Christmas Giving Tree at church. Every child on the list gets a hat along with a toy and piece of clothing of their choice. I would like to add scarf/cowl for each and mittens for the little ones. C