The beret, although usually associated with the French, has a long history and has been adopted by a variety of peoples starting with the ancient Greeks and including the Basques, members of the French Resistance in World War II, and the U.S. military in contemporary times. Easy to reproduce using paper and other craft materials, paper berets are a fun project for young children in the classroom or at home.
You can have children make paper berets to wear with a Frenchman-themed costume or as part of a historical or cultural lesson, for instance to celebrate France's independence day, Bastille Day. Kids can also construct berets when learning about the French Resistance in World War II or the Cuban Revolution, after Che Guevara. Feature beret-making as one of the activities of a French-themed party with French menu staples such as cheeses and crepes.
Paper berets should be made primarily with construction paper of a variety of colours as well as a hot glue gun, staples and scissors. As berets are available in a wide range of colours, designs and sizes, have children decorate their berets according to their own preference. For this, you'll need markers, crayons or colour pencils as well as a large variety of decorations, such as feathers, beads, stickers and glitter.
Measure the circumference of each child's head and cut a strip of construction paper that matches this length. The strip should be at least 2 to 3 inches wide. For a slanted design, the width of the strip can vary gradually from 2 to 5 inches. Cut out a circle-shaped piece of construction paper with a circumference that is slightly larger than the length of the strip. Using glue or staples, fix the strip to circle. Let the beret dry fully before decorating.
There are various children's materials available to inform and inspire kids as they set to work on their paper beret craft. Tom Lichtenheld's children's title, "Bridget's Beret," features the story of how Bridget loses her beret, which she considers to be the source of her artistic talent. "The French Culture Coloring Book" and "Let's Learn French Coloring Book" by Anne-Francoise Hazzan provide information about French culture.