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Mem Fox is a well-known author and The Magic Hat is one of her favorites for little ones. It includes rhyming words, a repetitive “chant" and magic! The colorful full-page illustrations by Tricia Tusa also lend to the enjoyment. In this activity your students will listen for rhyming words and have dramatic play when the magic hat lands on them! Use this book for a hat theme, a Mem Fox book theme or a magic theme.
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Reading the book
Read the book the first time through with a flourish and without stopping to discuss it with the children. Afterward, talk to the students about what happened when the magic hat landed on each person’s head. They all turned into animals! At the end, what did the wizard do? He changed the animals back into people. What happened to the wizard? He turned into a young boy.
Next, read the book a second time. Have the students participate in the “chant" and pause each time the hat lands on someone. Ask the children to fill in the blank with the name of the animal that each character becomes. Point out that the rhyming word can be a clue: road-toad; balloon-baboon; there-bear; true-kangaroo; half-giraffe.
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Read pairs of words. Use some pairs that rhyme and some that do not. Instruct the students to raise their hands if they think the pair of words rhyme. Here are some other rhymes in the book for you to use: hop-stop; surprise-eyes; wink-think; roo-to-do; confused- amused; meanwhile-smile; hat-sat.
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Hats (each student can wear a silly hat to school or you can supply a collection of hats)
Now it’s time for the dramatic play! You may choose to call up individual students to respond to each verse by moving and making noises of the animal they become. Or you may choose to have all willing students participate together and respond to each verse.
Everyone repeats the chant from the book (see below) and waves their swirling hat in the air. When the verse states that the hat “ lands on the head of…" instruct students to plop the hat on their head. Then “become" the animal.
The following verses are made up by this article's author, Pattyg, and not Mem Fox. You may want to add some of your own.
Oh the magic hat, the magic hat!
It moved like this, it moved like that!
It spun through the air…
1. like a speeding boat
and sat on the head of a big white goat!
2. without even tryin’
and sat on the head of a roaring lion!
3. and stopped with a BAM!
and sat on the head of a baby lamb!
4. like it was hit with a log
and sat on the head of a jumping frog.
5. like a farmer with a plow
and sat on the head of a big brown cow.
6. like a super-powered truck
and sat on the head of a yellow duck.
7. and blew off my wig
then sat on the head of a squealing pig.
8. at high speeds, of course,
and sat on the head of a trotting horse.
9. and made the leaves swirl
and sat on the head of a little brown squirrel.
10. almost hitting a tree
and landed right back here on me!