September brings a change of seasons. The hot, humid weather of summer waves goodbye as we anticipate the cooler, crisper weather with autumn’s arrival. National Fall Hat Month kicks off in September, encouraging us to hang up our sunbonnets and don our fabric hats that are seasonal for the fall. So gather an assortment of hats and join us as we say, “Hats off!,” with the activity ideas below.
REMINISCENCE: THE MANY HATS WE’VE WORN – Lead participants in a group reminiscence about the many jobs and responsibilities they’ve had over their years. From raising children to building a career, participants will certainly have many stories to share. Display hats that represent your group’s life experiences and pass them around to prompt memories. Hats could include baby bonnets, construction hats, chef hats, baseball caps, sun hats, etc.
MUSICAL HATS – Incorporate a game of musical hats during your group’s sing-along. The game mimics the children’s game of “Hot Potato,” but uses a hat instead of a potato. When the music randomly stops, (by you), the person holding the hat is “out” of the game. Play the game traditionally and remove that person from the circle, (they can continue to sing along with the group), or let the participant remain in the group for another round.
CAPS FOR NEWBORNS – Ask your knitting club to knit or crochet newborn caps during the month of September. Then, take the group to donate the caps to a nearby hospital’s maternity wing. Find patterns online or at a hobby store. Seek donations of yarn from your community.
CHEF’S HAT DEMONSTRATION – Invite a chef to don a professional hat and present a cooking demonstration for your group. (The head chef in your community might be the place to start.) Give chef hats to all attendees, prepare recipe cards for members to take home with them, and ask the chef to prepare samples that participants can taste.
“CAT IN THE HAT” PRESCHOOL PALS – With school back in session, September is a great month to invite a local preschool class to partner with your group for the school year. Kick off a pen-pal relationship between preschool and your group by welcoming the preschool to your campus. Read the book The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Then, pair group members with preschoolers and lead everyone in a craft, such as this one. Throughout the school year, ask your group to write letters to their pen-pals. Arrange for the class to make regular visits to your campus.
DECORATE A PARTY HAT – Purchase plain party hats from a party store, and invite members to decorate a party hat. Set out a variety of craft supplies, such as stickers, glue, glitter, markers, pom-poms, and sequins. Do this as a group activity, or set out supplies and hats for members to decorate at their leisure. Then, encourage members to wear their party hat at your group’s “Hat’s Off to Summer Social.”
HATS OFF TO SUMMER SOCIAL – Say goodbye to summer with one last luau. Decorate your space with inflatable palm trees. Use potted plants and flowers as centerpieces. Serve fruit kabobs, lemonade, and popsicles. Play your group’s favorite summer songs, or hire an entertainer. Invite members to wear their party hats. As the music plays (after members have eaten), toss a couple of beach balls or balloons around. Plan the party to be held outdoors, weather permitting.
GUESS THE HAT – Gather as many hats as you can and hide them in a box before the activity. Hats to consider include firefighter hat, cowboy hat, baseball cap, football helmet, chef hat, pillbox hat, top hat, sombrero, party hat, sunhat, fedora, graduation cap, derby hat, and a shower cap. Once participants are gathered, mentally choose a hat, but do not reveal the hat to the group. Tell participants that they need to guess what specific hat you are thinking about by asking yes or no questions about the hat. Questions could include, “Would I wear this hat outside?” or “Would I wear this hat to work?” Participants can ask one question at a time. After you answer, the participant that just asked the question can guess the name of the hat. If the answer is incorrect, another participant has a chance to ask a question. Once a participant guesses correctly, reveal the actual hat and give it to the participant. Play individually, or as teams. The participant or team with the most hats at the end of the game wins.
BASEBALL CAPS & CARDS – Invite the men in your group to a men’s only card game. Ask them to wear their favorite baseball cap to the activity. As you play cards, ask participants about their baseball caps, such as where they got the caps, why it’s their favorite, and any memories the caps hold for them. Serve popcorn and root beer.
THINKING CAP TUESDAYS – Encourage members to put on their thinking caps and answer a trivia question each Tuesday during the month of September. Each Tuesday, present a trivia question during mealtime, or display it on a centrally-located bulletin board. Ask participants to answer individually, either by stopping by your office or writing their answers on paper. Reveal the answer the following day.
GRAB HAT LUNCH – Work with your dining team to serve your group lunch in a hat one day this month. Pack a sandwich, chips, fruit, and cookie in different hats, such as plastic firemen helmets, party hats, or sombreros. Surprise members by delivering their lunches in the hats. Take photos of them wearing the hat they received.
HAT IN THE RING – Literally toss a hat in the ring with your group this month. Place a hula hoop on the floor. Then, give participants a hat. Ask them to toss the hat, aiming for the center of the hula hoop. Try again with a different hat. Was that hat easier to toss than the first hat? This is an easy activity to do during downtime or as a one-on-one activity.
HAT PARADE – This month wouldn’t be complete without a hat parade. Ask members to wear their best hats, then parade around your campus. Award prizes to the best hat, largest hat, silliest hat, smallest hat, and so on.
HATS OFF! TRIVIA
- What was the name of the style of hat made famous when Jaqueline Kennedy wore one to her husband’s inauguration ceremony as President? Pillbox
- What is the name of the hat often associated with Sherlock Holmes that was made of Sportsman’s tweed or cloth, with visors in front and back, earflaps outside and tied on top? Deerstalker
- What type of pointed hat was once used in schools to discipline unruly students? Dunce cap
- At which specific sporting event in May do you see many women wearing hats, fascinators, and headpieces that defy categorization? The Kentucky Derby
- Which type of hat is typically associated with Abraham Lincoln and Uncle Sam? Top hat
- Which hat would you wear if you wanted to take a shower, but didn’t want to get your hair wet? Shower cap
- Which hat has come to symbolize the American West and was once christened by John Wayne as “the hat that won the West”? Cowboy hat
- What type of hat was worn by gangster Al Capone? A Fedora
- Which comic book character was famous for wearing his crown beanie – Archie, Jughead, or Dagwood? Jughead
- What is the name of the social organization for women over the age of 50, where members wear red and purple attire to all functions? The Red Hat Society
HATS OFF! THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” ~ Philip Treacy
“Hats Off!” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2019 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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