Monday, April 28, 2014

Mo Willems Pigeon Hats- So Fun!

We love Mo Willems' Pigeon... who doesn't? There are lots of things you can do with that little bird full of big character. One of our favorites is making Pigeon hats.

Is that Pigeon on your hat?
It starts out as a guided drawing lesson. I fold paper into quarters and guide the kids to draw Pigeon four times. I ask them to draw Pigeon so that he fits the quarter sheet and fit on the hat. A lot of them draw him smaller, but that's okay– if he's smaller he still fits on the hat. I draw a big rectangle on the white board to represent where the pigeon parts go on their quarter sheet. We look at Mr. Willems's illustrations to try to capture some of Pigeon's expressions.

Then I ask the kids to evaluate their work and pick the pigeon they want on their hat. This time I had them choose two, as we were making hats to send to our penpals at a nearby school.

To make the hat I use a very ordinary, inexpensive paper plate, free of coating if I can find it, as they are easier to stick the pigeons to. Then I do the cutting– I come in from the edge and cut a circle just a bit bigger than the contoured circle in the middle of the plate.

Cut out a circle. Hold the plate facing down for easier cutting.
This is an adult task I'm afraid, but I got forty done while watching my one hour of weekly TV-- Call the Midwife. Tip: they cut better if you have the plate facing down while cutting. I use a piece of packing tape to splice the cut back together then old up the opposite edge to make a surface to glue Pigeon to.
Tape it closed with packing tape.
Fold up the edge opposite the tape to make a surface to glue Pigeon to.
Aren't they cute! You can see kids' individuality come out, even as they were all drawing the same character.
A flock of Pigeons!
I am especially fond of these little gems because although I've seen a lot of Mo Willems stuff, I haven't seen Pigeon hats quite like these, where the whole Pigeon is captured. It ties literacy and drawing together beautifully. The kids like drawing Pigeon so much, they started on a little Pigeon kick- Pigeons, Pigeons, everywhere! Wait till next week when we get to Elephant and Piggie!

Even works with pigtails!
Just as an aside, I do a Mo Willems author study at this point every year. The kidpeople know a lot of sight words now, and after we've read through the books once or twice, they all can read the books themselves. Nothing like hearing, "Again! Again!" when reading great books to kids :)

A sad note on this otherwise happy post, which I shared with my favorite ECE educator extraordinaire Dr. Jean: This same day we had to do standardized, computerized testing! I could not get back to the room fast enough to do something really fun and child appropriate! We can't control the testing, but we can use our powers for good to counter the evil-- HA :)

Love Mo Willems!  Love the Pigeon!

The post Mo Willems' Pigeon Hats– So Fun! first appeared on


  1. What a great idea! I wish I knew this when my kids were little. Very Cute!

  2. So glad you like it! Thanks for comment!

  3. Hi Kathleen! I found your blog from Dr. Jean's blog! :) She just came to our town and did our Kids' Bookfest- it was wonderful! Of course! I love your blog- and your pigeon hat idea. It is darling! I'm so glad I found your blog!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

  4. I'm so glad you found me, too! What a great comment to wake up to :) Yes, Dr. Jean is wonderful. A true ECE person who uses her voice in important ways! I also just checked out your blog... I'm your newest follower! Glad you like the hats :) Kathleen