Miss almost three is just starting to believe in the magic of Christmas. She now knows who Santa is and dances and sings to any Christmas song that comes on the radio.
That’s why the idea struck to make this incredibly simple dance ribbon ring for Miss Z. I’ve been struggling with crafty inspo recently as we’re currently staying in the UK with my parents and I’m not really able to do as much crafting.
Since having Baby E in April, I’ve had to simplify a lot. In fact, it’s exactly why Heidi from The Harmony Tree House and I established Everyday Play Hacks. The dance hoop featured here uses items from around my parents house along with Christmas decorations.
You will need
Assorted ribbon in Christmas colours
1. Cut ribbon to size. I used 100cm of ribbon that was then folded I half and tied in a double knot onto the embroidery hoop like so:
2. Thread on a jingle bell and tie again in a tight double knot. You don’t want your pre-schooler to be able to pull the bells off.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have filled the bottom section of the hoop. We used 6 pieces of ribbon in total but ours is a fairly large embroidery hoop!
4. Use a large ribbon to hide the screw at the top of the embroidery hoop. However, you could always remove the large outer circle first and avoid the need to cover the screw altogether – I only thought of this after I’d tied all the ribbons on!
Never leave your child unattended with homemade play things. Check the knots before and after play just incase any have come loose.
Okay so pumpkin carving isn’t exactly new, but it is an immense amount of fun! If you’re on Pinterest, and lets face it, who isn’t? You’ll see a myriad of pumpkin ideas ranging from easy peasy to super skillful. When you’ve got kids, you just have to go for the options that are accessible and fun so here are two activities you can try with just the one pumpkin – i’m sure you’ll all agree that this is a money saving win too! 😉
An invitation to play…
In the beginning, I wasn’t going to carve the pumpkin at all, but then I started to think of all the wastage which made me a little sad! After I lopped the top off of the pumpkin (definitely an adult job!), I set the kids to work scooping out the flesh. They used scoops, spoons and their hands to remove all of the pumpkins innards for a real bit of sensory fun!
Fine motor skills: using fingers to grasp at the pumpkin
Hand grasp: using the spoons/ scoops
Language: describing the texture of the pumpkin, what it sounds like etc.
Sensory development: everything from smell, taste, touch, sight and sound is covered in this one activity!
Side note: younger children should be under constant supervision due to the size of the pumpkin seeds.
An invitation to create…
Have you ever tried to carve a pumpkin? It’s not that easy and certainly not a job i’d entrust to the kids. There’s way too much margin for error but compromises can be made if you want to get your creative on as a family. Like I said above, I was loathed to waste the flesh, so Pauline is a halfway house between a no-carve and carved creation. Here’s how she was made:
5. We left the pumpkin a few days before I carved the eyes with a craft knife (in hindsight, this would’ve been best done prior to painting) Then we added in ‘Day of the Dead’ style drawings using Posca pens. The flowers have been recycled from a previous craft – you can find out how to make them here.
This activity is great for:
Expression: the kids went crazy with the neon paint.
Fine motor skills: drawing on the features.
Creative thinking: how could we all join in with the activity?
Teamwork: sharing out the tasks.
Historical research: with older kids, you can explore the background of the Dia de los Muertos festival for the ‘why’ behind the decoration.
Carving should really be done by an adult.
Be aware of the paint you are using if you want to light up your pumpkin with tealights. Although we used water-based acrylics (which are considered safe), we avoided any dilemma altogether by placing a mini torch inside Pauline. Definitely do not use oil based paints!!!
And FINALLY, although Pauline was very beautiful on the outside, by the 5th day her insides were a totally different story. I suspect the paint caused her to get moldy quicker so if you want a longer lasting decoration, I would go for the no-carve option. As it happens, it turned into a fascinating STEAM experiment! 🙂
Have you got an accessible pumpkin idea you’d like to share? Either comment below or tag me in on Facebook / Instagram.