If you’re looking for a simple book about bundling up for winter weather, written with captivating rhymes, Under My Hood I Have a Hat, by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Fumi Kosaka, is your book! The nameless heroine of this story goes through her layers of winter wear as she and her dog come inside for hot chocolate. Then she names more as she piles them back on to head outside again!
The lines in this story are at the same time simple and fun. Here are a few favorites: “Under my hood, I have a hat, and under that, my hair is flat. Under my coat, my sweater’s blue. My sweater’s red. I’m wearing two.”
At the end of the story, the little girl falls in the snow, and says she can’t get up with all those clothes on. The last picture has no words, but shows the little girl’s snow angel imprint in the snow, and little footprints from her boots and her dog’s feet. I like to ask the children what they think happened, and they often decide that the dog helped pull her up. I also like to follow up the story by inviting the children to make a snow angel on the floor, a fun movement activity.
For a more formal follow-up activity, I like to have the children make a winter hat craft that gives them an opportunity to work on some patterning skills. Here’s what you need: paper plates cut in halves (or hat-shaped construction paper-I think I used plates mostly because I had halves left over from this activity), self-adhesive foam cut in squares in at least two colors, and self-adhesive foam cut into “puffy-balls” for the top (I usually cut a quick circle and then cut small triangles into it, though a roughly cut circle does the trick as well. You could also use large pom-poms if your foam-cutting fingers are fatigued.)
I point out the page with the hat and explain we’re making paper hats. I call their attention to the stripe pattern in the hat and we talk about patterning a bit there. Then I show them the hat we’re going to be making and explain that our pattern is going to go across the bottom, to make the hat band. Just like the stripe pattern in the picture, we want a pattern across the bottom band. Then I use a few different colors to make a few sample patterns by laying the pieces across the bottom, hesitating so that the children can suggest the next color in the pattern.
Once the children have a pretty good grasp of the task (and I have a pretty good grasp of which children will need extra support in creating a pattern) I instruct them to lay the pieces across in a pattern, and then peel off the backs to adhere them. Then, they pick any “puff-ball” they like for the top, and lastly, they can color the rest of the hat if they would like. Some continue with their pattern, creating stripes up the hat, others make heart designs or simply scribble. Anything goes!
Now, you did read right, this activity falls more under the “craft” category than the arts category. That’s because the main objective of this activity is the math concept of patterning. Though creativity certainly comes into play, as well as small motor skills, the patterning is the primary learning objective. As I mentioned when I wrote about the Spectrum of Preschool Arts and Crafts, a child’s art experiences should be primarily open-ended creative art experiences. There is a place for crafts however, and that is largely for addressing other learning objectives, such as following directions, or in this example, getting some patterning practice in a fun way. Now, if a child exhibits that she can indeed create a pattern, but she just doesn’t want one on her hat, that’s OK, it’s still her hat. I just have her show me a pattern first, so that I can note the skill, then let her go at it. Likewise, some children just aren’t ready for patterning, and if, after working at the task, they still aren’t making a pattern, I let that go too. Just be sure to note their understanding of the concept as they work, not just by looking at their final projects!
For more wintry activities, click here!