"Caps for Sale" Preschool Activities & a Paper Cap Craft

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After reading “Caps for Sale,” try out these activities. “Caps for Sale” is a renounced book, but many students may struggle to relate to certain aspects of it. These lesson plans can help.

Make a Paper Cap Craft

Pass out paper plates so that each student has one. Make sure that students have smocks or old shirts on over their clothes, and give them paint to paint their hats. (Besides paintbrushes, you may want to provide sponges and other painting supplies to allow students to exercise their creativity.) Encourage students to paint the backs of their plates any color(s) they desire. Allow the plates to dry, and then provide students with art supplies such as pompoms, glitter, and ribbons to decorate their hats. Then punch a hole in each side of the plate and thread yarn or a ribbon through the holes. Put the plate on each student’s head and tie the hat loosely to their heads. Then let them pretend to be monkeys wearing the peddler’s caps.

Walk Like a Peddler

Divide students into pairs, and have one student from each pair put her cap from the previous activity on her heads. Then have each partner stack additional plates, facing upwards, on the first partner’s cap. Explain to students that the peddler had many caps on his head and had to balance them all. Challenge students to walk around the classroom balancing their caps for as long as they can. Then instruct them to move in other ways, such as crawling, walking backwards, or tiptoeing. Then have the partners switch places.

Discussion About Anger

Not all children’s books portray characters displaying character traits that are admirable. In “Caps for Sale,” the peddler keeps on getting angrier and angrier, and it is his anger in the end that seems to solve his problem. Discuss this with students by asking them the following questions:

  • How did the peddler feel when the monkeys didn’t give him back his caps?
  • What did he do because he was angry?
  • Did that help anything?
  • What could he have done instead?

Asking these questions will help students think more deeply about the attitudes conveyed by this story. Try out this activity, as well as the rest of the activities in these preschool lesson plans. “Caps for Sale” is a classic, and teaching it to your students will help them to appreciate the children’s literature that even their parents might remember from their childhoods.