This Spring, inspired by their love of costumes and a favorite book (Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau! by Andrea Beatty), the children in Making Group began a study of hats. After the children carefully examined and tried on a number of hats, they then deconstructed, sketched designs for, and finally created their own unique hats from a collection of open-ended materials.

As a group, they looked at images of all types of hats from all over the world--from the functional to the fantastic! During their research, they watched short films of a milliner at work, an interview with famous hat makers, and scenes from a professional hat show. It was during the viewing of these clips that the children collectively (and enthusiastically) decided to host their own hat show!

Over many months, the children deepened their thinking and "Making" skills as they designed and followed through with increasingly elaborate hat constructions. Simultaneously, they grew stronger as a small learning community; confidently sharing ideas and knowledge with each other, as well as regarding one another as resources for information, assistance, and--especially--inspiration!

In the weeks leading up to the culminating event, the children perfected their hat designs and worked to bring their ideas to life. Using the Doodad Dump's inventory of tape, cardboard, fabric, feathers, buttons, cellophane, and other open-ended materials, each child created their own hat. They practiced walking up and down their collaboratively-designed walkway, which they outlined in red tape on the day of their big event. 

One afternoon, the children invited their parents to join them at Crescent Park for The Hat Show. They provisioned every detail of the event--from what type of snacks to offer, to the dimensions of the walkway, down to the exact order they'd present in. Parents and siblings filled the room and watched as each child displayed their unique creations. Some children walked cautiously down the walkway, others skipped, and some chose to stand in place and wave with one hand as they held onto their hats! This event gave the children the opportunity to proudly showcase the details of their hard work, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking with their parents and peers.