The third grade students in Jeanette Faulder’s class have spent the last week learning to knit, and now they’re using their new skills to help keep babies warm this holiday season.

The Paddock Lane Elementary students have been using looms to create tiny hats that Faulder will donate to shelters in Lincoln that will go to homeless infants.

The third graders started out with a goal of making 10 hats, but Faulder has a feeling that target won’t be hard to reach.

“I think we'll probably exceed our goal because of their interest,” she said. “They just really took off on this and made them a lot easier than I thought they might.”

Students brought in soft yarn to donate to the cause and, in between classwork, they wrap yarn around a circular plastic loom with a hook, crafting each of the tiny hats by hand.

Third grader Colton Reeves said that making the hats has proven the old adage that it’s better to give than to receive.

“It makes you feel better,” Colton said. “And it gives you a feeling in your heart that warms it.”

So far, the students have knitted about five hats to donate, but they’re expecting that number to be higher by the end of the week. Faulder said she had taught another class to knit hats about three years ago, but for some reason, this class has become really dedicated.

It teaches the kids a skill, Faulder said, but more importantly, it teaches them to have empathy for others. At Paddock Lane, the December character quality of the month is caring, she said, and this is the perfect project for that.

“It's just really wonderful for me to see them thinking of others and excited about giving to other people,” she said. “I was very pleased when they took off and wanted to donate yarn and take them home.”

Start to finish, knitting a hat usually takes about an hour or two, but since the class only works on them in-between classroom activities, it takes a couple of days for the kids to finish one of the hats, Faulder said.

Third grader Kaylynn Harder finished up her first hat and said she’s looking forward to making more.

“After we get past our goal, I'm going to make one for my sister and probably my cousin,” she said.

Once the hats are completed, Faulder will be dropping them off at homeless shelters in Lincoln before the holidays.

The students will be leaving for Christmas break with a new skill under their belts, and could start selling the hats that they make, but rather than opening up an Etsy shop, Colton had a different business model in mind.

“I'd probably sell them for free,” he said.