Dragon Hat

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Ages school-age

An accident involving my son Jake, the morning paper, a precariously placed glass of orange juice, a cereal bowl and a mad rush to get to school on time rather than clean up the mess led to the discovery of the very cool fact that wet newspaper, when molded over something (like a bowl), retains that form after it dries. It sparked us to try a slightly more controlled experiment with water and newspaper, which in turn led to some fairly radical (and less sticky) headgear.


A bowl that fits on your child's head
10 sheets of newspaper (in this case, one sheet equals just the left or right side; you don't need the big square spread)
Paint (tempera paint works well)
2 paper cups
Construction paper
Glue stick

1. Turn the bowl upside down on the table. Wet one sheet of newspaper in the sink, making sure it gets soaked. Lay it over the bowl and press down firmly along the edges. Then repeat the procedure with seven more sheets, alternating the direction of the paper step 2 each time you lay down a sheet over the bowl. Let it dry overnight. In the morning, you can lift off the newspaper, and it will retain the shape of the bowl.

2. Use scissors to trim the edge of the newspaper into points. Don't trim points into the front; this part will become the dragon's snout.

3. Fold the points to the inside of the hat and tape. To make the snout, roll the brim to the outside and tape it to the front of the hat (use loops of tape so it won't show).

4. Paint the entire hat green (or whatever color you like).

5. Accessorize. Here are some key body parts we added--but why limit yourself? Use the same basic bowl shape with different decorations to create a lion, a cat, a dog, a unicorn, you name it.

EYES: Cut the top inch or so (depending on how much you want the eyes to bulge!) off a paper cup. Cut tabs and fold them back. Repeat on the second cup. Paint the cups green. When dry, glue construction paper circles (eyeballs) to the cups and glue the eyes onto the hat using the tabs.

TAIL: Fold a double layer of newspaper (the last two sheets) into a long, triangular shape. Paint it green and let dry. Attach it to the inside back of the hat with tape so that the point runs down your child's back.

SPIKES: Each spike is made from two triangles of construction paper glued together. Leave the bottom unglued and fold back so that they'll attach easily to the hat.

TEETH AND TONGUE: Cut teeth and tongue from construction paper. Curl the tongue around a pencil before attaching it to the inside of the hat with tape.

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