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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Make Your Own Simple Tour de France Inspired Snap Game #BostikBlogger

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Do you know you know your maillot jaune from your le maillot blanc? Your King Of The Mountains from your sprinter?

I didn’t because, despite being run since 1903, the Tour de France has largely passed me by – not that I was alive in 1903, even though Freya recently told everyone on the bus that I’m “really old” but you get what I’m trying to say. I’ve seen the odd clip of it on TV, I’ve heard it spoken about (I sat next to the sport department when I worked for my last newspaper for a while) but I haven’t taken that much interest – and I think I’ve been missing out.

This year, Bostik is an official tour partner and the theme of our most recent craft box from Craft Merrily, which we receive as part of our role as a Tots100 Bostik Blogger, is  inspired by what has become one of the most important sporting events in the world.

Not knowing much about it, I was a bit flummoxed when it came to ideas for what to make so I did some research and found it is far more interesting that I first thought.

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I already knew there was a yellow jersey (for the fastest of each stage and the quickest overall) but my research revealed there is also a green (best sprinter and time trialist), red polka dot (best climber) and white (best young rider) too (apparently there is also a rainbow jersey and that’s before you even get to the team jerseys).

While it was tempting to make a bike with paper plate wheels and a pipe cleaner frame or some handle bar streamers for Freya’s actual bike, I really wanted to do something that made use of the jerseys. Freya has recently started to enjoy noughts and crosses (or “that not angry game” as she first described it, which took some deciphering) and I was thinking about other easy games she might enjoy.

Snap! Of course.

We used:

White, yellow and green card.

Bostik Fine & Wide Glu Pen.

Scissors.

A pencil, red pen and black pen.

Two small pieces of cardboard (to make the templates).

Emoji stickers.

Stage one.

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I’m sure there is a much easier way of doing this but because I wanted it to be as interactive as possible for Freya we started by making a square-ish template (7cms by 9cms) and then drawing around it on to white card. We then cut them out. I initially thought we’d make eight squares but that made the game short so we ended up with 16.

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Stage two.

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I attempted to draw a jersey on a slightly smaller piece of cardboard. After several attempts (who knew it was so difficult?) we used a pencil to draw around it and scissors to cut them out. I cheated a little bit and did several at once.

Stage three.

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As it was a warm day we decided to do the rest outside on the communal grass. After adding red polka dots to four of the white jerseys, Freya stuck them all on to the cards using Bostik Glu.

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Stage four.

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The other side of the card looked a little sad so Freya added emoji faces to represent the expressions of the riders during the race (although I’ll be interested to see if any do actually wink during their ride).

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Then it was time to play and I was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s an only child or because she’s four but she’s not great at losing (at snap or noughts and crosses). I let her win most times but I think the occasional loss is good for her.

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Will you be watching the tour, which starts on July 7th? Or is it an event which largely passes you by?

* Please note: we received a free box of craft materials in return for this post.

Simple Creature ‘Hand’ Puppets #BostikBlogger.

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When our latest craft box arrived I was a little despondent because surely nothing could top paper flowers? Had we peaked too soon?

I opened it up and you know in films when a child lifts the lid of treasure box, the special effects kick in and they are bathed in a golden glow? Well, that almost happened, thanks to the spangly gold card that had been included.

My mind was soon racing with ideas but it was actually the recent CBeebies production of The Tempest, which Freya is obsessed with, that inspired our craft. I thought we could put on a play using ‘hand’ puppets with the theme of this month’s box, which is ‘creatures’.

Freya loves putting on shows and when I suggested it she couldn’t wait to get started.

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We used:

Different colour card, including spangly green and gold.

Sparkly pink sticky back paper.

Bostik Fine and Wide Glu Pen.

Pencil and pens.

Scissors.

Googly eyes.

Assorted gems and sequins.

Bostik Foam Pads.

Lolly sticks (plus the odd salvaged coffee stirrer).

Step one.

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Tongue out in concentration, Freya got to work writing a list of creatures she thought we could include in a play. She decided on a butterfly, a ladybird, a blackbird and a bumble bee. This gave me a very rough idea for a story and I suggested we added a dragon, which she was more than happy to do. I explained my tale but, apparently, it was missing a little something (everyone’s a critic, right?). And that something was, of course, a queen fairy named, can you guess? Yes, Freya!

Step two.

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With a character list and rough story idea, we set to work making the puppets. Freya is getting pretty good at drawing around her hand and only needed a bit of help. Although my artistic skills are somewhat lacking, I added in a head and tail for the dragon as best I could.

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Step three.

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For some reason, scissors are one of Freya’s favourite things at the moment. I often find her sat up the dining table snipping up bits of paper (and the occasional bill). I cut out a few others while she was working on hers.

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Step four.

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Now comes the really fun part – decoration. I thought the little sequins looked like scales so we set about covering the dragon with them

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Freya was VERY specific about decorating the fairy in her likeness – although she felt she needed glasses. I also managed to deeply offend her when I offered her a brown pen to colour in the hair. “My hair is not brown,” she said. “It’s golden!” Oops. I didn’t have a gold pen but I tried to make up for it by making her a gold crown and wings.

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She was so pleased with it she wanted to take it to school to show her teacher – and ended up telling the whole class about our crafting activities.

Step five.

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We left everything to dry overnight and then, because she gets up ridiculously early, there was plenty of time to put on a show before school, with the Playmobil as the audience. We’ve also used the puppets several times since.

I’ll post one of our tales below. I started it off and Freya pitched in with her ideas about what should happen, particularly the ending. I don’t think I’ll be writing children’s stories any time soon but Freya might.

This craft actually turned out to be one of the most creative and fun ones we’ve done so far. I think we both really enjoyed it.

* Please note: We receive a craft box from Craft Merrily free of charge, as part of our role as Tots 100 Bostik Bloggers, in return for this post. 

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Once upon a time in a pretty garden not very far from here, there lived a group of creatures. There was a beautiful Butterfly, a buzzing bumble Bee, a bustling Blackbird and a lovely Ladybird. They all lived happily together among the green grass, colourful flowers and blooming trees.

One day, as they were busily going about their business in the sunshine, a dark shadow was cast over the garden.

“Is it a bird?” Butterfly asked.

“No, it’s too big for a bird.” Blackbird explained, a quiver in his voice.

“Is it a plane?” Bee risked a look up into the sky.

“But it’s not making any noise,” said Ladybird.

Suddenly the shadow grew bigger and a huge dragon swooped over them.

“Ahhhh,” they all screamed and fled into the bushes – only coming back out when they could be sure the dragon had gone.

Over the next couple of days the same thing kept happening. The creatures were very fearful about venturing into their little patch of garden.

“Why does it keep coming?” Bee wondered.

“It clearly wants to gobble us all up for its lunch,” said Ladybird.

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The following day it appeared once more.

“Wait, wait, please!” The dragon cried as he swooped down but the creatures quickly disappeared into their hiding place.

“As if we are going to wait for him to eat us,” cried Blackbird.

“Will we ever be safe from the dragon again?” asked Butterfly.

They knew they needed help and so early the following day they all jumped on Blackbird’s back and he flew swiftly over the fence to a garden three houses down where the fairies lived inside a big old oak tree. There they asked to see the Queen of all the fairies, Fairy Freya, sure that she would know what to do.

“So, what does the dragon want?” the golden-haired fairy asked them, regally, from her throne.

“To eat us,” Ladybird said, confidently.

“It has tried to eat you?” she quizzed them.

“Well….no.”

“It’s definitely trying to scare us,” said Bee.

“What does it do?”

“It swoops down,” said Butterfly, spreading her wings in what she thought was a threatening manner.

“And then what?”

“Then we run away,” they all agreed.

“I see,” said the very wise fairy, thoughtfully. “And has he ever tried to speak to you?”

“No, not at all,” said Bee.

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“Although,” said Ladybird, “he did call for us to ‘wait’ last time.”

“Right,” Fairy Freya said, standing up. “I know just what to do.”

With a wave of her wand she transported them all back to their garden.

“What now?” asked Butterfly.

“Now, we wait,” said Fairy Freya.

It didn’t take long. Soon a dark shadow was cast across the garden again. As usual the dragon swooped to the ground. The creatures all cowered behind brave Fairy Freya.

“Good morning, Dragon,” she said.

He seemed quite taken aback. “You’re not going to run away?”

“No, but I’d like to know why you keep visiting the garden and frightening my friends.”

“Oh, I really don’t mean to scare them. I was flying over one day and they looked like they were having such a lovely time that I thought I could join in but every time I got close they ran away.”

“So you don’t want to eat them?”

“Oh no, I’m vegetarian. I don’t eat creatures…or fairies.”

One by one, Bee, Butterfly, Blackbird and Ladybird came out from behind Fairy Freya.

“You just want to be our friend?” asked Blackbird.

“Yes, I ‘d really like that.”

The creatures looked at one another and nodded.

“Very well,” said Fairy Freya, her job here done.

And so each day Dragon arrived and spent time playing in the garden with the creatures. They all had a lovely time and discovered that while Dragon might be big and a bit different to them, he was still good fun and made a lovely friend.

The End.