This is my favorite activity to do with kids when we read “This Is Not My Hat“. I’ve taught it to three groups of kids on very different levels and all three loved the game. I even had kids start playing it together during their free time– which was a little hectic, but adorable. Some of these students were working on playing with others, so it was awesome to watch them develop play skills through a silly game based on dramatic play.
Here’s how it works:
I start by reading the book. Immediately after the first reading, I act it out! To act out the story you need two people– one acts as the big fish, one acts as the little fish. You also need a hat that is easy to remove.
For the first performance, I used another adult. I usually started as the big fish. I would put the hat on and pretend to fall asleep (I stayed sitting, hands next to face, eyes closed, and a little snoring adds to the drama). One of my aides would sneak up to me, take the hat, and then run and hide. I would make a big show of waking up (a good stretch and yawn), and then touch my head and say “My hat! Where did my hat go??”. I would then stand up with a flourish and look around. I would ask the students if they saw my hat and they (acting as the crab) would be encouraged point to the aide hiding somewhere in the room. I would then march over, take the hat back, put it on my head and then usually wag my finger or squint my eyes at the perpetrator. (note: I had one class that was pretty certain the big fish ate the little fish, so we would pretend to eat the little fish while saying “nom nom nom nom”). The more drama, the more fun the kids have when they play. I would then switch and act out the part of the little fish, sneaking on tip-toe like I’m in an old movie and acting very excited about hiding.
Then I started letting the kids take turns and, let me tell you, there was nothing cuter than the giggles that filled my classroom during this game. I’d let them pick the role they wanted to play, and at first, I would play the other part. As they picked up on the steps, I would let two kids play and they LOVED it.
Dramatic play can be SO fun and it is so beneficial for comprehension. Give it a whirl! I don’t think you’ll regret it.
For more activities to accompany a reading of “This Is Not My Hat”, click here!
Tawni is a former special education teacher, now stay-at-home momma. She spends her days reading, cooking with lots of cheese, listening to professional choral music, and tickling her baby boy, Cy. She lives with her husband and son in Utah.