Your toddler has developed a burning desire to dress up as a firefighter and act out rescue operations to save his teddies from an imagined, perilous fate. Dress-up options include buying a plastic firefighter's hat or sewing one by using a pattern template and fabrics such as red felt. However, shopping for dress-up clothes might seem too arduous, and sewing a hat is a fiddly task that requires more than a little time and patience. Take heart because two paper plates, some crayons and a bit of cutting and sticking are all you need to delight your toddler and rescue yourself from a tedious shopping trip or an irksome stitchery project!
The Main Section
Your toddler can help to make the hat's main section by using a red crayon to color two large white paper plates. Or use red paper plates and skip the coloring! Cut around the inner circle of one paper plate to about halfway. Place the half-cut plate over your toddler's head and use a pencil to mark how much extra cutting is needed to achieve a comfortable fit. Remove the paper plate from your toddler's head and continue to cut around the circle, stopping at the marked point. Fold the partially-cut inner circle upward to form a flap at the center front of the hat.
The Firefighter Badge
The shape of a firefighter's badge is known as a Maltese Cross, which represents ideals of fire extinction and life-saving endeavour. For your toddler's hat, you could make a simplified badge using white construction paper. Draw around a small circular object that has a diameter of about 2 inches on white paper. Draw four 1-inch by 1-inch tab shapes that extend outward from the circumference of the drawn circle and are placed at equal intervals around the circle's circumference. Let your toddler color the badge using a metallic crayon. Write the abbreviation "FD" in the center of the badge using a black pen, cut out the badge shape and glue onto the central flap. For a more authentic-looking badge, ask your local fire department about any children's sticker badges that are available.
Rims and Brims
If your toddler is interested in learning about the work of firefighters, a good starting point is to talk about the protection offered by hard, brimmed helmets that help protect the forehead, eyes, back of the head and neck from hazards such as falling debris. To make brims for your toddler's firefighter hat, cut out the central part of your second paper plate. Fold the circle in half and cut along the foldline. Glue one semi-circle underneath the front rim of the hat to form a frontal brim and glue the other semi-circle underneath the back rim to extend the back of the hat.
A Firefighting Team
Once the firefighter's hat is complete, you can use a scaled down size to make similar-style hats for your toddler's toys. A suitably-attired teddy bear firefighting team will stimulate ideas for myriad pretend rescue operations and creative play scenarios. You could make a little book about your toddler's ideas and paste in some photos of the rescued or rescuing teddies! On a more serious note, dress-up firefighter games can also help teach your kid essential information about fire safety and fire prevention.
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