Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Make a Thinking Cap

“But, Mom, what about the brain?!?!” was my son’s question when we finished his human organs tee shirt. Truth be told, I thought that we’d just read up on the brain and add what we learned to his Body Book (visit this post for links to download the Body Book pages free). But, ohhhh no, that wasn’t going to cut it for my son. Apparently I’d set the bar too high with our other human body-related activities. (I have no one to blame but myself.)

Frantically searching the web for a fun craft to do, I found the Brain Child blog. Hallelujah! This incredible site had the perfect activity to cap off (excuse the corny pun) our lessons on the human body.

Before we got crafty, we read Pamela Hill Nettleton’s book “Think, Think, Think: Learning about Your Brain.” It taught us what the three parts of your brain are used for:
  • The cerebrum helps you think.
  • The cerebellum helps you move.
  • The brain stem keeps your heart and lungs working.

Now it was time for my son to make his very own thinking cap!

What we used:
A can of Great Stuff foam sealant (cost: approximately $4)
Lots of aluminum foil
Disposable gloves (a pair for you AND a pair for your child)
Protective eyewear
A disposable bowl that fits your son/daughter’s head
Waxed paper

What we did:
  1. I covered the top of my son’s head in aluminum foil. I’d recommend finding a bowl that’s a snug fit and covering it completely with foil. If you omit the bowl, use LOTS of foil to make your foiled hat thick and stiff. This will serve as a permanent base for your "brain."
  2. After we removed the foil form, we put on gloves and eyewear and sprayed the foam sealant, covering our foil hat completely. Before handing over the can, I showed my son how to make folds like what you’d see in the cerebrum. 
  3. We set our “brain” on top of waxed paper to dry, threw out the gloves, and gave each other a high-five. “That was cool, Mom,” my son said. I agreed!
  4. I checked the brain cap a few hours later and as it was drying, gently pulled the waxed paper away from the bottom where it was sticking. Then I turned it over since the top was dry, letting the bottom dry thoroughly overnight.

Note: We did this in our garage with the door open so there was plenty of ventilation. While the sealant’s can didn’t give this warning, I thought it best to control the mess and protect our brains.


  1. How cute is that! That's quite a brain--big and powerful!

  2. I love your thinking cap. I found this brain model cap and thought I would share the link with you.

    1. I've seen that before and it is awesome indeed! Perhaps we'll revisit parts of the body this summer again ... I've been thinking we should talk about skin, eyes, etc. Thanks for sharing, Keitha!