Two Easy Halloween Crafts To Do With A Child Sent Home From School Poorly (But Not All That Ill). 

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After being sent home from school poorly yesterday, I made Freya a snuggly bed on the sofa, gave her the iPad and expected her to rest. 

And she did.

For five minutes. 

Literally.

“I think we should go outside and play football, the fresh air will do me good,” she said.

It was a nice try, she’s definitely learning how to push my buttons but, on this occasion, it was a no. I wanted her to be aware that being sent home from school was a serious thing, not just an excuse to play all afternoon.

She definitely wasn’t herself, had a slight temperature and was losing her voice but there was no way she was going to just lie on the sofa, which is what I’d like to do if I was ill, so I went for the middle ground – and got the craft stuff out.

October is Freya’s second favourite month because it has Halloween in it, which she loves even more than Christmas. She suggested we could decorate the house this year but is frightened of all the decorations in the shops (plus I refuse to buy them anyway). Luckily I had some ideas and Pinterest helped with the rest.

Spooky/Autumnal Jam Jars.

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You will need:

Jam jars.

Masking tape.

Paints.

Scissors.

Black pen.

Pencil.

LCD candle.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you will know I have a ‘thing’ for jam jars. I’ve managed to give a few away but keep a stockpile, just in case. 

Obviously, as they are glass, this craft might not be suitable for younger children.  Freya  quite often paints vases and I thought they would make a cool spooky fake candle holder along with a more autumnal one. The plan was to make two but then Freya came up with the idea of making a fox. I was a bit worried it looked more like a pumpkin but either worked.

Step 1.

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I asked Freya to write a list of things she associates with Halloween. I then did my best to draw some of them on to masking tape.

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Step 2.

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While Freya is a dab hand with scissors now, it’s a bit fiddly with sticky tape so I cut the shapes out and handed them to her to stick on.

Step 3.

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Paint the jars. Yes, she is wearing a witches hat and using two brushes. Whatever floats your boat, right?

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Step 4.

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After they have dried, carefully (or not in Freya’s case) peel off the tape. This can be the end but I used a marker pen to define them. I think it works well. If I was feeling really fancy I might put some ribbon around the top to make it look a bit more appealing. It’s quite hard to take photos in the dark but you get the idea.

Top tip: If you use washable paint you can clean the jam jars after a suitable period and reuse them for more painting fun.

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Toilet Roll Halloween Decorations.

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You will need:

Toilet rolls.

Card and paper.

Googly eyes.

Pipe cleaners.

Scissors.

Double sided tape.

Glue.

One of the things I ponder quite regularly is how we as a family of three go through so many toilet rolls – I’m seriously thinking of rationing paper.

On the plus side it means I did have a supply in the recycling bin to use for this craft.

Freya is a huge fan of the Hotel Transylvania films and was keen to make the entire cast. We settled on Drac with the promise to make more at a later date. I’m sure you can work out how to do this yourself but just in case…

Step 1.

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Roll the toilet roll in card or crepe paper.

Step 2.

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Decorate as desired. There a huge selection of things to make on Pinterest (I’ve made a board). I had a look at what craft stuff we had (a severe shortage of black card) and, along with Drac, the cat and pumpkin fit best.

Step 3.

Hang them up. It’s a bit too early for that at the moment but my plan is to hang them around the living room nearer Halloween.

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So there you go, that’s how we spent some of Freya’s afternoon off school. Hopefully she will be heading back today, if she’s well enough – otherwise it might be time to start on the Christmas decorations!

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Entertaining Young Children On A long Car Journey – Travel Doodles Review.

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Quite a few of my sentences now seem to start with the words ‘when I was young…’, which prompted Freya to ask what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

It was tempting to make up stories about having a pet tyrannosaurus but I had to admit that while I’m old, I’m not that old.

One of the most recent times I have said it was after Mark suggested getting a few things to entertain Freya on our long car journey west.

“When I was young we played endless games of eye spy or just sat quietly and enjoyed the scenery,” I said, forgetting that I am now the parent and had a three plus hour journey ahead of me sat in the back with her.

I’m pretty sure, as my parents will tell you, that I never actually sat quietly either – and Freya seems to have inherited that…skill. Usually when we go to Ipswich, an hour away, she’s asked ‘are we there yet?’ before we’ve even left Norwich. In the end I figured having something to entertain her with wasn’t a bad idea.

Mark gathered together a few little bits and every hour or so, usually midway between comfort breaks, I got one out of the bag.

The best one (or at least the one she played with the most) was the wipe-clean Travel Doodles pack from Usborne.

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She had lots of fun drawing faces on people, completing puzzles and designing outfits.

There are more than 100 doodles on the double-sided cards and then obviously you can wipe off and start again.

She played with the cards for more than an hour and now, even when we pop to the shops, she likes to get one out and doodle.

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It says not suitable for children under 36 months and some of the doodle suggestions are more difficult than others. Freya (at four/nearly five) could do the majority of them but there is room to grow too.

When I got home I looked them up and apparently they have other sets, including a general holiday one and 50 Things To Do On A Plane. I’d definitely consider them, if we go anywhere else.

We did play a few games of eye spy, which was interesting as she’s just learning to spell, and counted different colour cars and there was also time to just sit and take in the scenery but I think having a few extra things certainly made the journey more pleasant.

What’s your stance on entertaining children on long journeys?

Note: I’m not being paid to write about the Travel Doodles, I just really liked the cards and thought I’d recommend them in case you have a long car journey coming up.

 

Turning Five, Finally.

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“Who are important people?” Freya asked the other day.

It was ridiculously hot and we were sat on deckchairs on our balcony, trying to cool down. As her question was a bit out of the blue I thought for a few seconds and then said: “The prime minister, doctors and nurses, suffragettes…erm….”

“What about Barry Scott?”

The name was vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place him. I frowned.

“Who?”

“The man on tv?”

“Wait, the cleaning man. Cillet Bang?”

At that moment we both said: “Bang! And the stain is gone.”

After we had finished chuckling I added: “Well, I guess he’s important to people who like cleaning?”

“I like a clean house,” she said, with what I thought was more than a hint of criticism.

We don’t use any of those products (I’m more a white vinegar type of girl) but I’ve seen the advert on the children’s channel that is sometimes on in the background. I’ve never seen Freya really pay attention to it, she’s not one for tv or sitting still in general, but he’s loud and enthusiastic – a bit like a children’s tv presenter. Maybe that’s what grabbed her attention?

What I’m learning about just turned five years olds is that they take in much more than we (I) give them credit for.

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That realisation has come in little sharp shocks.

No more having conversations in front of her, especially ones where you try and spell out the word you don’t want her to know.

“Ooooh park, yes I would really like to go.” She looks up, expectantly.

Then there are the deep questions, it started off with the odd one here and there but now most things she asks require proper thought – especially as I realise what she is asking often seems to be unrelated to what she actually wants to know.

If my brain was a television it would have been on standby mode for most of the last five years but it’s like someone has just accidentally sat on the remote and it has come back to life at full volume, making everyone jump.

She’s not going easy, we’ve had many of the big ones. Death, God, crime, homelessness, racism, how did she get in my tummy?

As difficult as I sometimes find them, it’s these random conversations that I’m going to miss now she’s back at school.

Year 1.

How did that happen?

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It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was looking down at the calendar I had just made -and still can’t quite bring myself to take down – wondering how I was going to fill the six-week summer holiday.

While it wasn’t without its days that seemed neverending (and not in a good way), on the whole I’d give it a thumbs up.

We were lucky enough to spend some time away from home, which I think helped break things up – for me at least. Freya would probably have been just as happy going to the local park every day (where we made some lovely new friends). I had one of those moments, watching her dance in and out of the water at the splash park, squealing with delight, where I thought: ‘Yes, this could be one of those perfect childhood memories.’

And, of course, at the end of the holidays, she finally, FINALLY had her birthday. I’m not sure why it seems such a landmark, probably because she’s made it so by counting down from January.

As, one by one, all of her school friends started blowing out their candles, Freya grew impatient for her own celebration. She had a long wait. We all did.

Finally five.

I really hope it’s as good as she thinks it’s going to be.

Little Hearts, Big Love