As the Easter holidays fast approach so too does the annual chocolate laden, fluffy chicken, plastic egg, flower fest that is the Easter hat parade.
A throwback to centuries gone by when European communities used to celebrate the coming of spring with the purchasing of new clothes and the adorning of new hats. A time of rebirth and new life, the new clothes marked the beginning of a new season and the positivity of a new harvest to come.
Today, we have the joy of perpetual growing seasons in humidity, temperature-controlled grow houses. We have untold wealth and an abundant supply of affordable clothes with new wardrobe items able to be purchased whenever the fancy takes one. So - the Easter tradition has been reduced to children creating flamboyant, often edible, head creations and parading around the school, or wider community, to show off their creativity and head balancing skills.
If, like the school where I teach, you are are responsible for creating the hats with the students at school then I have 3 words of advice – hot glue gun. Obviously this will require you, a teaching assistant or a parent to operate as it is far too dangerous for little hands but there is nothing a hot glue gun, a good stapler and a roll of sticky tape can’t get on an Easter hat and believe me - the wide assortment of additional items students bring in and want to add to their hats never ceases to amaze me.
I have found over many years that I prefer to start with an actual hat rather than a circle of cardboard. An example is this gold sparkly number for just $3 from The Reject Shop.
The broad brim makes it super easy to glue on the plastic feet of fluffy chickens or the foil of chocolate eggs. The flat top is able to withstand the weight of baskets glued on top, a bird nest made out of shredded newspaper or a handful of toy cars, trains, cardboard road and rail track – believe me I have made it all.
The bucket shape means that the top heavy, riotous final product sits on a small child’s head, rather than perching on top, and hopefully will make it through the entire parade without crashing into a pool of tears and a million pieces.
The other, equally pleasant option is to use a soft wide brimmed hat like this colourful example from Kmart for $5 and cover it with fake flowers.
I have found that pulling apart a colourful lei like this pair for $1.50 at K-Mart plus a handful of extra crepe paper flowers that even the youngest of students can make will create a flower bonnet to rival any for less than $10. It is also a strong nod to the tradition of the Easter bonnet and a celebration of spring.
This floral hat will allow you to segue nicely into the year’s first lessons on traditions inherited from our founders of the north and the concept of Australia being in the southern hemisphere which is now in autumn not spring.
While I have provided the historical answer to the reason for an Easter hat parade, I have no answer but a solution to the other, more disturbing question children ask at this time of year. Not the one about Jesus and the cross and the boulder moving when it was too heavy for one person but the question of why the Easter rabbits bring small brown eggs to young children.
To answer this question you may wish to read your students the latest Easter hat parade book from Rory H. Mather – The Easter Hatastrophe. As the name suggests a group of animals have gotten together to create their own Easter hats and a parade to display them – what could possibly go wrong? A hilarious way to tie a bit of literacy, mathematics and fine motor skills into the day with the worksheets the team at Learn From Play have created. There is also a joke in there about a bunny with a nervous belly to answer the question of what children should and should not eat when they search for chocolate in their garden on Easter morning.
If that is not your cup of tea - you could grab a copy of the Easter sudoku on Learn From Play to provide some creative thinking for students of all ages with an easy or hard level and the answers provided to make it easy for.
Regardless of which resources you decide to use, all the team at Learn From Play hope that you have a fabulous Easter with family and friends and take time to laugh as you eat chocolate and share good books with the children in your life.