Because a worsted weight adult hat calls for probably 80-100 stitches, when I was first learning to knit and didn't want to do a "huge" project on DPNs, I started off with mittens. (Well, first I tried to make a sock, without a sock pattern or any understanding that I even needed one. One huge tube is all I got, because I had no understanding of gauge, either.)
If you can handle working slowly through the freaky thumb part, mittens are great because there are fewer stitches, and almost as little complexity as a hat. If you want, you can make thumbless mittens for babies, using fingering or sport weight yarn, or for adults, gauntlets/handwarmers/fingerless mittens which avoid decreasing.
Good luck, and use a safety pin or a contrasting color bit of waste yarn to mark the right side of your work, so you don't accidentally start working on the wrong side.