Often while spending
hours days time on Pinterest, I come across awesomesauce kid crafts and get sad that I don’t yet have any spawn with which I can partake in such activities (but then I remember that I also get to sleep late and go on vacations, so single-hood is not too shabby).
So I decided to borrow some kids for an afternoon!
Before you report me, I did not swing by the elementary school and snag a couple of stragglers for crafts at my house (that sounds like a bad Lifetime movie).
I went about things in a totally legit way, texting one of my friends who has three adorable, fun daughters and asked if I could come hang for an afternoon and entertain her kids…
Single Friends Take Note: Your friends with kids will be overcome with joy if you should ever ask to take their children off their hands for any length of time, be it five minutes or five days. I’m warning you because you might want to brace yourself for the spontaneous hugs, tears, and shouts of joy that will come as a response to your question.
My friend’s daughters are 2, 4 and 6 (though the older two are a month and a half shy of their birthdays — same day, two years apart, how crazy is that?) so I knew it had to be a fairly simple, but fun activity all three of them could partake in.
Also, because I’m a nice friend, I figured I should make it as close to mess-free as possible (read: No Glitter Allowed!)
I scoured the web for ideas and came up with a lot of exciting-sounding things that, when considered from a practical application standpoint, didn’t fit the bill. So then I delved into the cobwebs of my own memory to dig up craft ideas from my oh-so-long-ago childhood.
That’s when I remembered the ghosts.
Once upon a time, it was family tradition for my brother and I to stuff white trash bags with newspaper, draw on faces and hang them from the trees in the yard. It was simple, easy and cheap — in other words, perfect!
I set off for the Dollar Tree to assemble the necessary items and the ideas started to percolate (Starbucks may or may not also have been involved). I decided to step it up a notch and add balloons, glow sticks, ribbon and googly eyes to the equation.
I also decided permanent markers in the hands of 2, 4 and 6 year olds would probably not be a good idea, so instead I chose to use some sheets of felt I had leftover from this one time I decided I was going to sew a set of play food for my niece (HA! I made it through one slice of pizza and quickly gave up that dream!).
I drew and pre-cut different shapes for eyes, noses and mouths from the felt, using fabric markers to add details here and there. In 30 minutes I had 15 different objects for the kids to choose from when assembling their ghosts.
On the day of the Big Craft, I sat down with the girls at the table and let them choose their balloon/glow stick combination (a very, very delicate and important decision making process). I blew up the balloon with the glow stick inside, stuck it inside a tall, white kitchen trash bag and tied a ribbon at the neck.
From there, I let the girls choose their eyes/nose/mouth combo and glue them on.
We did have some trouble with this step because kids, of course, have a tendency to use glue like trannies use make-up (read: not with a delicate touch). I kept trying to help with the glue step but was usually caught up with securing another balloon and in two shakes there was a glue massacre on one ghost face.
But I went around and tried to dab off the excess and keep the girls occupied while their ghosts dried. This was not entirely successful, but tragedy was averted with some reattached facial features that didn’t stick the first time around.
They really had a blast creating different faces and expressions, especially when I gave them the leftover felt and let them start drawing their own eyes, mouths and noses for me to cut out.
Some of my favorite moments from the day:
- A long and very serious discussion I had with the four year-old about the merits and appeal of the eyes with one big and one small googly eyeball (and our shared love of googly eyes in general)
- The six year-old’s delight at creating balloon ghost versions of herself and her sisters (“I have a whole FAMILY of ghosts!”)
- Watching the two year-old go from scared, to excited, to delighted when her selected features were turned into her very own ghost.
I would definitely recommend this craft for a fun Halloween afternoon activity!
(But maybe with tape instead of glue)
(And with better glow sticks than the bracelet ones at the Dollar Tree which had almost completely dimmed in the two hours we spent working on our ghosts)
(And also, spring for the bigger, nicer balloons at Wal-Mart, several of ours suffered from holes and couldn’t have handled a bigger glow stick)
(Stop giggling at that last thing…)
Happy Two Weeks ‘Til Halloween!
P.S. – Many thanks to my good friend Tori for letting me entertain her kids for a few hours — we had a blast and I’m already working up ideas for some Christmas crafts!