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Creative Exploration Box of Hats
Type: Crafts   Skills: Play & CreativitySocial & Emotional Skills
Many of us only think of creativity in terms of art and music, or a special talent; but creativity is that and much more. Itís the ability to be inventive, or see things in a different light. Itís an original way of thinking that is nurtured and developed over time. In this activity, learn how putting together an exploration box can give your child new opportunities for self expression. Creative Exploration Box of Hats
What We Learn
Allow children to explore & play without limits
Encourage children to make choices & do things in their own way
Provide lots of time for dramatic play with open-ended materials
Show children you value their ways of thinking & doing things
Supply List
Plastic or paper bowl
Aluminum foil
Pie tin or paper plate
Feathers and other decorative items
Construction paper
A creative expression box is simply a container filled with open-ended play materials. Remember to place your creative expression box in an area that is easy for children to access. Children can really let their imaginations soar when you provide them with props and other items which allow them to define the direction of their play.

One great way to encourage dramatic play is to include a variety of different hats in your creative expression box. Dramatic play encourages children to use their own imaginations to pretend to be various roles and to shape the direction of their play. Children can choose to be a cowboy one moment, then a firefighter the next moment. You can include all sorts of hats, such as: construction workerís hard hat, police officerís cap, military officerís cap, baseball playerís cap, nurseís cap, chefís hat, safari explorerís hat, etc.

Another great way to encourage creative expression is to encourage children to design their own hats. Children can create their hats any number of ways. One easy way is to take a plastic or paper bowl and turn it upside down. Cover the bowl with aluminum tin foil. Take a pie tin or paper plate and cut out the bottom portion, leaving only the sides. Place the pie tin or plate upside down and over the aluminum-covered bowl so that the sides of the pie tin or plate now become the brim of your hat. Secure the two pieces together with tape.

Encourage your children to decorate the hat in whatever way they choose. Children will really use their imaginations when given the opportunity. Provide them with simple decorative items you might already have around the house, such as feathers, glue, buttons, pipe cleaners, construction paper, markers, etc.

Once children have finished their hats, then the fun really begins as children get the chance to use their hats to engage in dramatic play. Follow your childrenís lead in the direction they are taking the play. Ask children open-ended questions about what they are doing and remember to show children you value their way of expressing themselves.
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