Simple knitted toys: rooster, hen, and chicks

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from  Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck while I take a little writing & publishing break.

I“m excited to share this simple project with Simple Homemade readers today because it combines two of my loves: knitting and toy-making.

My four year old daughter has quite the infatuation with animals. She tells us all the time about the farm she is going to have when she grows up and all of the animals who will live there and be her friends. She”s going to have horses, cows, sheep, goats, kittens, dogs, and of course chickens.

To surprise her this Christmas I”ve decided to make her some knitted animals for her stocking, inspired by the book Toy Making with Children. This book has some great, simple patterns for knitted animals but the original chicken pattern doesn”t show the concept of family, which is another big part of my daughter”s playtime right now.

So I decided to come up with my own pattern, using the original as a jumping off point, that featured a rooster, hen, and chicks.

Rooster, Hen, and Chicks

This is a very simple knitting pattern, I promise. If you can make the washcloth featured on Simple Homemade, then you can make this little family of chickens.

Supplies needed:

  • yarn to knit with (wool, cotton, or acrylic would work)
  • knitting needles slightly smaller than the gauge your yarn calls for (you want a tight knitted fabric to hold in stuffing)
  • scrap yarn, embroidery floss, or felt for embellishing
  • stuffing (poly-fill, wool roving, or even fabric scraps)

Techniques you need to know:

The pattern

The rooster, the hen, and the chicks follow the same basic pattern, although each one starts with a different cast on number. Basically, you are casting on a certain number of stitches and knitting a square.

Rooster: cast on 20 stitches, knit a garter stitch square (knit every row), bind off (giving you a square of approx. 4 inches), leaving a long tail of yarn.

Hen: cast on 16, knit a garter stitch square, bind off (approx. 3 inches), leaving a long tail – you”ll use this long tail of yarn to sew up your seam later.

Chicks: cast on 12, knit a garter stitch square, bind off (approx. 2 inches), again leaving a long tail of yarn. I made three little chickies for this family, though only one is shown here.

To assemble the chickens:

1) Fold your knitting square in half on the diagonal and sew it closed, using the long tail you left after your bind off.

2) Stuff your chicken with poly-fill, wool, or even fabric scraps until you have a nice plump bird.

3) Sew up the other side. You should now have a little stuffed triangle.

4) Starting at the bottom point of your triangle, insert your yarn threaded needle and push it up through the triangle in the center and then back down again to the triangle point to pull the shape of the triangle into something more chicken-like. Secure your stitches.

5) From here you can embellish your knitted chickens to give them their personalities. The rooster and hen may have a yarn or felt comb attached, you might want to add some tiny felt or embroidered beaks and eyes. Keep this very simple and safe for little hands.

You”ve done it! A sweet little knitted chicken family, ready for play at the barnyard.

Have you ever tried your hand at making simple toys? Do you have a favorite simple knitting or toy-making pattern? Over at we”re having a monthly kids” gift craft-along on the 25th of every month between now and December. I”d love to invite Simple Homemade readers to join us there and share your projects.  Happy crafting!

Kara Fleck

Kara lives in a small town in Indiana. She's a wife, a mother of four, and caregiver to her special needs adult sister-in-law. Unconventional and uncomplicated, you can find her writing about creative living, habit stacking, and sock knitting at K.Elizabeth Fleck.

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  1. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    Wow, Kara. That IS a simple toy to make. Your tutorial makes it so much easier than it looks. Maybe I need to expand my knitting repertoire beyond scarves…

  2. Kara, I love these! I’m so impressed that you made up your own pattern! A friend of mine made my daughter the cat from that book, and it’s been a beloved possession for years. I’m definitely going to make these for the kiddos. Nice job!

    • Oh, don’t be too impressed – it is just knitting squares after all 😉

      I’m planning to make some of the other animals in the book, too. I think she needs a whole farm in her stocking. I’d love to do one of those knitted farmyards that I see (Living Crafts magazine had some a few issues back) but I don’t think there is time this year. Hmmmm, maybe a year long knitting project? 🙂

      Best wishes!

  3. Very cool! I crochet, but I think I can do about the same thing–just crochet a square with those dimensions and follow your instructions from there. This reminds me of something my mom’s friend made when I was little: crocheted hens that laid (plastic) eggs. And the eggs has little chicks made of pom poms. Hmmm…I wonder if I could remember enough to make one of those???

  4. These are adorable and maybe just the sort of project that two of my beginner knitters need to get them back into the knit!!!

  5. oh, I love this. What a perfect and simple little addition to our autumn nature table.

  6. Oh – these are adorable! Can’t wait to get these on my pins 🙂

  7. These are so cute! And would be perfect for my kids this year since we are now chicken owners for the first time 🙂

  8. These look so simple, even I might be able to do it. Thanks for linking up to Waldorf Wednesday!

  9. Nice to be here and see your post!

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