Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Love Surrounds Us: A Program on the UU Principles and Beloved Community for Grades K-1

Activity 2: Making 19th-century Nurse Caps

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, Nursing Caps
  • White, 9x12-inch construction paper
  • Large, stick-on labels
  • Red crayons or markers

Preparation for Activity

  • Fold one nursing cap as per instructions on Leader Resource 1.
  • Optional: Draw a red cross on each stick-on label, leaving room for participants to write their names.
  • Optional: On the Cyber Nurse website, see how nurse's caps have changed over the years.

Description of Activity

This activity connects the early nursing tradition of "capping" to present day nursing. Say, in your own words:

We heard the story about Clara Barton, a founder of the American Red Cross and a nurse. Nursing has a long history of using white caps to identify nurses. A ceremony was started called the Capping Ceremony. A nurse got "capped" once they were trained to do their job. Today nurses-both men and women-often wear scrubs with a colored cap.

Nowadays, some schools that train nurses have changed the ceremony to a stethoscope ceremony. That shows how important nurses' knowledge and care can be, when people are injured or sick. All of these ceremonies are a way to show that nurses are important people.

Today we will fold a simple nurse's hat and color a red cross on it to remind us of Clara Barton, the Universalist woman who helped start the American Red Cross.

Show the sample cap you have folded. Distribute construction paper. Lead the children through these steps to make nursing caps together.

  • Fold construction paper in half so the short ends meet together.
  • Turn the paper so the fold is away from your body and the open end toward you.
  • Fold in the two triangles on the sides through both pieces of paper.
  • Fold over the top triangle.
  • Fold the bottom small triangles up on each side of the cap.

Distribute sticky labels and red markers or crayons (or distribute the labels on which you have drawn Red Cross symbols). As needed, invite the children to color a red cross on their badges and write their names. Invite them to stick their Red Cross badge on their cap and wear their cap.


How does it feel to wear a special nurse's cap? The First UU Principle says that every person is important. Remember that caps are just part of being a nurse just like the importance of each person is just one of our UU Principles.

How does it feel to have all of us wearing a cap together? I wonder how it feels to know that all Unitarian Universalist's believe the same Principles.

Including All Participants

For younger participants, make the caps ahead of time. Have the children color the Red Cross symbol on a label and stick the label on their cap.