hippo's hat

Hippo's Hat
Target text


Recognize and produce the /h/ sound in a series of words that all begin with /h/.

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • hippo
  • hat
  • hide
  • hang
  • hug
  • hold


  • Hat instructions 
  • Paper hats
  • Hippo headband 

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children that they will play a game with a hippo and a hat while they listen for words that start with the /h/ sound, such as hug, hold, hang, and hide.

Literacy Activities
Hippo's Hat game

  • Write a list of /h/ action words such as hug, hold, hang, and hide on a chart or whiteboard, read them to the children, emphasizing the /h/ sound.
  • Explain to the children that they will act out those words as they play the Hippo’s Hat game (similar to Simon Says).
  • Give each child a paper hat.
  • Choose one child to stand at the front of the class and pretend to be a hippo by wearing the hippo headband (see below).
  • Have the child playing the hippo choose an /h/ sound action word from the board (support by reading it aloud as needed), then help them say either "Hippo says, 'H___ (e.g., hide) the hat!'” or "H___ (e.g., hang) the hat!" (without saying "Hippo says").
    • If the child begins the instruction with “Hippo says,” the children should do the action with their paper hat and say “H___ the hat.”
    • If the child does not use the phrase, “Hippo says,” the children should do nothing.
  • The children who follow the instruction without the phrase, “Hippo says,” will sit until the next round but still get to say the sentence and do the action as appropriate.
  • Play the game several times, having the children take turns being the hippo and choosing different /h/ sound action words.
  • When the game is over, re-read the list of /h/ sound action words with the children, emphasizing the /h/ sound.

More Practice
Repeat phrases with the target letter

  • Ask the children what their favorite /h/ actions were that they did with their hats.
  • When the children say the /h/ action, have the class say, “Hooray! We can h___ (e.g., hide) the hat!”
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SEEL At Home



Recognize and produce the /h/ sound in a series of words that all begin with /h/.


  • Paper hats (instructions below) or other hats

Activity: Hippo's Hat

  • Find or make a hat for each person playing (paper hat instructions below). 
  • Talk with your child about action words that begin with the /h/ sound (e.g., hang, hide, hold, hug, hop), and make a list of them on a piece of paper,
  • Play the game Hippo's Hat (similar to Simon Says):
    • Start out with you pretending to be a hippo, picking an /h/ sound action word from the list, and saying either "Hippo says, 'H___ (e.g., hide) the hat." or "H___ (e.g., hold) the hat" (without saying "Hippo says").
    • Encourage your child to do the action with his or her hat and say, "H___ (e.g., hide) the hat" only if you begin the instruction with "Hippo says."
    • If your child does the action and says the sentence when you do not say "Hippo says," switch roles. 
  • After playing the game, ask your child which /h/ action was his or her favorite, then say together, "Hooray! We can h___ (name of favorite /h/ action) the hat!"

Paper Hat Instructions


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