Child of Wales brings you some spark and creativity to light up the dark nights in the coming months ahead. This year is a little different to most Halloween, bonfire and autumn celebrations but we should still find time to shine a light in the darkness, enjoying time together with our families. We bring you a whole host of activities for children and hope that the fun, laughter and learning will light the way forward through what have been some dark times, bringing hope for all our futures.
Mrs Hart’s Hot potatoes around the bonfire this autumn and Halloween:
‘Bewitching bubbles’ … We’re going on a pumpkin hunt!
Lots of people up and down the country are organising ‘Pumpkin hunts’ where children in the same household go on a journey in their own neighbourhood looking out for pumpkins. This is an alternative to trick or treating this year, and for every pumpkin spotted, children get sweets from their parents. Dress up as goblins and ghouls, witches and wizards, safely enjoying the Halloween festivities in your bewitching bubbles! You could even make your pumpkin hunt a sponsored walk event where you raise money for a charity of your choice instead of receiving sweets. Kindness matters and we can always bring hope to others.
Some towns and villages organise ‘Scarecrow trails’ spotting scarecrows, the whole family could go looking for scarecrows in their villages and neighbourhoods dressed as Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally! Of course, you could even make your own Harvest Scarecrow and put it on display outside your house!
Share a Spooky story!
www.theschoolrun.com ‘Best Halloween books’ has a great selection to help get you in the spirit! Classics such as ‘Meg and Mog’ and an excellent squeamish ‘This Cookbook is Gross’ with brain cake and green bogey popcorn recipes galore!
www.waterstones.com ‘Children’s Horror & Ghost Stories’ section has recommendations spanning across the age ranges including ‘Mr Men Little Miss Halloween party’ and the wonderful Tom Fletcher of McFly’s ‘The Creakers.’ ‘What’s patiently waiting while you’re counting sheep? What never comes out unless you’re fast asleep?’ A captivating book, genuinely funny and disgusting!
www.penguin.co.uk ‘Gifts for 2020’ includes ‘The Puffin Book of Big Dreams’ a collection of family favourites as well as modern and fresh tales. ‘Funky Chickens’ by Benjamin Zephaniah raps poetry all about cleaning up our oceans and racism. If you are looking for books on a range of themes, not just for Halloween, Penguin books has a great list here to choose from.
Share a story with hot chocolate, torches and pitch up a tent in your back garden or somewhere indoors. Create 2020 hubble ‘bubble’ magic reading books together that take you far and wide with nowhere to hide! Host a haunting bedtime story and get lost in the magic of reading.
Fantastic phantom food!
Over 60 recipes for the whole family to feast on including ‘Eerie eyeball pops’, ‘Spider biscuits’ and even ‘Pumpkin cheesecake.’ All strange and delicious!
No cooking involved, create a Halloween themed, finger food snack platter!
You could even have your own themed, Halloween family dinner party! Themes could include:
- The Monster Mash
- The Addams Family
- Gruffalo gourmet!
Witch crafty smarty art!
Autumn celebrates both Halloween and bonfire night and is one of the best seasonal changes in the calendar. It’s a time for children to have crafty fun and even let the adults join in too! Always look on the bright side of life, longer evenings mean more family fun time together!
A few of our favourites include:
www.darrellwakelam.com We cannot recommend this artist enough! From ‘Paper Plate Skulls’ to ‘Ugly bugs’ and 3D magical masks! Darrell has a creative idea up his sleeve, all made with cardboard, scissors and sticky tape! So, don’t throw away all those empty boxes and take a look at his website which has endless possibilities, including 50 free downloadable ‘Jumpstart’ art projects. The whole family will love this, we promise!
www.activityvillage.co.uk Autumn Craft section has fabulous ideas for every letter of the alphabet! Spectacular autumn wreaths, family trees, autumn suncatchers and twig fairies! Work your way through all of them or just a few.
www.happinessishomemade.net Easy ‘Fall’ Kids Crafts ideas that anyone can make! Stunning leaf lanterns, Felt leaf bookmarks and Glitter leaf garlands! Lovely and best of all, quick and easy! Get messy with ‘Pumpkin pie’ playdough and ‘Mason jar tree luminarias’. These are stunningly beautiful and would look warm, magical and homely during the dark nights ahead.
www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies ‘Five autumn arts-crafts’ ideas. Brilliant bird feeders, snazzy stick creations and woolly peg sheep to create from the beauty of nature.
Bat-tastic! Become a bat expert this autumn and learn about the awe and wonder of the bat world! www.bats.org.uk gives a fascinating insight into the world of bats, how they feed, breed and live. The National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/bats-at-our-places is another great link to find out more. Please check to see if your local National Trust is open before heading out on a bat walk.
Diwali – Festival of Lights This is the Hindu, Indian festival of lights. Diwali falls on Saturday November 2020 this year and even though there are restrictions in place, due to the pandemic, there are many activities families can do together at home to enjoy this fascinating festival! As with traditional harvest festivals, Diwali celebrates new beginnings. Diwali is the story of the triumph of good over bad, light over darkness. You could learn about the story of Diwali together and make rangoli patterns, paper lanterns and clay lamps. www.veganfirst.com Diwali, gives a climate friendly way to celebrate. Also www.brainsmith.in Diwali ‘7 ways to celebrate’ with your children’ is another creative blog to tap into.
Firework Safety! More families will be celebrating at home this year due to government restrictions on outdoor gatherings. www.rospa.com has the essential advice everyone should follow for a safe and enjoyable night, including the firework code. www.cbtrust.org.uk Children’s Burns Trust has some excellent advice and a range of activities for children in early years, young adults, parents, carers and professionals. Learn about the Gunpowder Plot or find out about joining the local Fire cadets!
Fantastic forest walk! Take an autumn picnic and enjoy the fresh air, without a care! Be grateful for the world around us celebrating the beauty of nature. Waken your senses in all that you see, hear smell and touch! Look for carpets of leaves, all shades of colours. Take some stunning autumnal photos jumping in piles of leaves or even puddles! Make them into photo frames, cards and calendars as gifts for family and friends. You could then try and catch an autumn sunset, family memories for a lifetime. Make a ‘Senses diary’ of your forest adventure. Don’t forget to wrap up warm! You might even decide to enjoy some stargazing under the night sky, looking for the constellations on a starry, starry night!
Home Harvest Festival! We all love the annual school harvest festival, why not decorate your own food hamper and fill it with tins and packets and donate them to a local food bank. Alternatively, Morrisons supermarkets has a wonderful scheme of pre-packed bags of shopping which are then donated to local food banks. You can head into any Morrisons store and choose a bag priced from £1 - £5 to add to your own weekly shop. Once you have paid for it, you can place it in the marked food bank trolley in-store. These are then collected by food bank volunteers to help feed those who need it during these hard times for many people up and down the country.
Conker Championship! Good old traditional fun, go on a conker hunt as a family and have your own tournament back at home. Let 2020 be the year the whole family competes, making it an annual tradition! You could even award medals for Conker Champs 2020!
Apple bobbing! You can do this as a family in the back garden and see how many apples you can get using your mouth from a washing-up bowl of water in one minute. Use a stopwatch to time the family competition. Hands must be behind backs and towels at the ready! Change the water every time someone has a go. This is lots of fun and harder than you think! You can then enjoy a toffee apple or toast marshmallows around the fire pit to finish off the evening! Take lots of pictures as you go and stay safe!
I would like to congratulate all of our very special and wonderful Child of Wales 2020 winners. Reading the nominations many months ago was a huge honour and filled me with hope that the world is full of kind and good people. Child of Wales gives us the opportunity to celebrate these amazing people who teach us all that kindness matters. Look out for the special announcement on Friday 30th October when the winners will be named.
We wish all our children and families a happy and creative time celebrating the change of seasons ahead. Out of darkness comes light with much to look forward to.