The scariest time of year lies ahead. Yep, that's right: in just under two weeks, the British clocks go back and carefully crafted toddler routines get thrown into disarray. I warned you and you're welcome but I don't have any useful advice for dealing with it.
What I do have is suggestions for toddler Halloween activities. Because Halloween is also two weeks away. And throwing a few seasonal arts and crafts into your oblivious kid's mix of play dough and building blocks makes for a
So here goes:
Dress Them Up
Starting by stating the obvious, right? Who doesn't love to dress their kid in a costume at every opportunity? But whereas babies couldn't care less what they're dressed as (Matilda was a dragon last year), toddlers have preferences - if you can find an outfit which fits their current interests, so much the better; we've bought a fluffy black cat onesie from M&S which I'm certain she's going to love. Invite a few of their friends round for a "party" (by which I mean "fancy dress play date"), too.
Masking Tape Mummies
So easy. Cut out cardboard mummy shapes, draw faces on them, nod when your toddler calls them "babies", then hand your toddler strips of masking tape or washi tape (as in our example - above) to stick on them. I did this with Matilda at 15 months and she loved it - can you tell which was her mummy and which was done by a 40 year old friend...?
Make ghost noises. Spend even more time than usual jumping out on each other and shouting "Boo!" Dance like monsters. Meow and crawl around like black cats. You get the idea.
Make footprint ghosts or handprint spiders. Footprints are great when you have either a baby (who can be strapped in a high chair or distracted by... anything) or a kid who's old enough to understand what you're doing; for toddlers like Matilda, who want to see what's going on and take charge of the process, smudgy handprints may be a better option.
Halloween Fuzzy Felt
Stick a sheet of plain felt to some cardboard (you can use glue but I found it was easier to fold it over the back and stick it down with parcel tape); cut out some spooooooooky felt shapes; let play commence.
Shine a torch or directional light on a plain wall, then use your hands to make shapes. They don't have to be great, recognisable shapes - toddlers may be fascinated just by the cause and effect (Matilda and I quite often wave at our shadows in the park). While you're at it, waving torches around in a dark room is a favourite activity round these parts.
Let your toddler stick Potato Head pieces into balls of orange play dough or orange peppers (you will need to poke some holes into the peppers ahead of time). If you're making a pumpkin or turnip lantern yourself, you may prefer to use battery-operated LED candles in case of curious kids!
Instructions for making suncatchers over here. This time, you cut out a monster shape and stick some eyes and sharp teeth down first. You could also cut out lots of eyes and mouths from magazines with which to create a picture of a creepy eyeball monster. Or, in a similar vein, make a spider's web with double sided sticky tape and give your toddler paper bugs and spiders to stick on it.
Thread Spider Legs
Cut out a cardboard spider shape (I used the monster shape I cut out whilst making the suncatcher) and some legs (you could also use pipe cleaners); make slits in the spider and let your kid slide the legs into them. Surprisingly engrossing. Once they've lost interest, sellotape the legs in place, stick a length of string to the spider and hang it up as a DIY Halloween decoration.
Cut out (or buy) a basic mask shape (I'd recommend one which only covers the top half of the face); let your toddler scribble or splodge paint all over it; don your masks.
Let them decorate gingerbread people with squeezy red food colouring - it's bound to look like a horror movie. You can buy a box of ready made gingerbread people but, for maximum fun, get your kid to help you bake some; we used this recipe which was quick, easy and delicious.
Flock of Bats
Cut out lots of cardboard bats (or buy a load of plastic ones - you'll find them in some discount stores and supermarkets) and hang them from the ceiling/door frame. Sit/stand underneath them with your toddler, blow really hard and see if you can make them dance around (spoiler: you totally can).
Read Halloween Books
Matilda is a big fan of Meg and Mog and of the lift-the-flaps book Spooky House; we also like Ghosts in the House and Room on the Broom, although they require a bit more concentration. If you want to show your toddler their first scary movie, there's an animated version of Room on the Broom, too.
Is there anything you would add to this list?
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