Thursday, 11 April 2013

H is for..............................hats!


                    Yes, they keep their heads warm, but they can be a learning tool too!

Hats are great! There are winter hats, summer hats, hats for occasions, hats to look cool, party hats, hats for job and even hats which were not meant to be hats! As a child grows, their imaginations begin to run wild and having a range of hats to explore can really enhance their development in a range of ways!

It is always worth having a "hat box", whether it be in the home corner of a setting, or as part of your child's dressing up box at home. This is something I am starting to develop with my own daughter at home (at the moment she has a play tiara and some funky headbands!) Hats are fab because they come in different shapes and sizes as well as a range of different colours and materials. They are a great conversational tool, as you can discuss why a fireman's hat or builders hat has to be hard, and why some hats are made of straw etc.

Hats can be collected from around the world too, if you are not so lucky as to be able to visit some countries for a range of hats, you can find books on the subject. A great list of books for children about hats can be found at http://www.villagehatshop.com/hats_childrens_literature.html

If you have a suitable box, you can collect different hats from charity shops and car boot sales to add to your collection. It is a good idea to mix both children's hats, play hats and adult hats so that the child can explore different sizes as well as to enhance their imaginative play. Many children are dressing up to pretend to be adults, so having adult hats can help this!

There are many activities you can do with hats. You can play "hat hide and seek" hiding hats around the house/room for children to find, for younger children an adult can put hats on hands, feet etc to spark conversation about where hats should go and why ( this also causes a lot of laughter, in my experience!) and also sort hats into different categories with shape colour and size. One game I have played with older pre- schoolers is to ask them to find objects which start with a certain letter sound and place them in the hat, before taking each one out and talking about each one. This also works with shapes and coloured objects.

Of course, one of the best things to do is to create your own hats! From Easter bonnets to crowns, making hats is a fantastic way to get creative and can promote self esteem as the children parade themselves around in a hat they have made themselves!

Some great activity ideas for hats can be found here :

http://www.ehow.co.uk/list_7534431_kids-crazy-hat-activities.html

http://www.preschoolexpress.com/toddler_station07/hats_mar07.shtml

http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Wearables/easypaperhat/easypaperhat.html

http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/columbus/newspaper_sailors_hats.htm

Many thanks to Charlotte for sharing the picture of her son with Childcare Clair!

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