I love the idea of being the kind of person who is organized enough to have a bin of seasonally specific decorations and changing my decor based on my season. That appeals to me. My mom is one of those people who is a master at doing this and I am trying to be a bit more like that because it generates so much excitement for the children. It doesn’t even matter if the decorations are from the dollar store– they love the excitement of coming downstairs and seeing the pumpkins out for fall or the green decor for Saint Patrick’s Day. It is a simple, inexpensive thing that brings sheer joy each year. Sometimes, I even pull out old seasonally specific art projects from the kids and they love looking at the bunny they made in Kindergarten or the Santa they made in first grade. And, as they get older they seem to love the idea of helping with the decorating and pulling each special and treasured piece out of the Tupperware bin.
So each season, especially in this pandemic, I have been trying to be mindful about taking the time to make the seasons special for the children especially. We aren’t doing the traditional school parties (like I usually try to help with). And, we aren’t going to the special plays or seasonal breakfasts and so this seems like a way to generate the enthusiasm and excitement in a more mindful way for them. Simplicity at it’s best.
In addition to the decorations that help us to make the seasons special, I have been leaning heavily on crafting. I love crafting– whether it is making photo albums or a kids craft for the seasons– I am all in. I LOVE Pinterest and find myself looking though all the amazing options for decorating pumpkins and researching family fall crafts for the kids.
But, sometimes I just don’t have the time to cut apart and prep everything in a timely manner. So, I have found myself leaning on companies that pull together the pieces for me so that all I have to do is build the craft (the fun part). If I order from someplace like Oriental Trading Company I get 6 or 12 crafts, enough for the whole family to do one and to save some for next year or for another time. Sometimes, the craft is so popular, the kids just want to do it over and again!
This year we did some pumpkin painting. My son wanted to create a Spiderman pumpkin and it looked really amazing. When he finished he asked for another pumpkin to paint and I told him that we only really do one pumpkin a year for painting. So he decided to paint a second coat over his pumpkin since he wanted to paint more. So now, I am a bit unclear what the inspiration for his pumpkin painting is, but most importantly he was very happy about it. My daughter, the future artist, decided to paint leaves and Happy fall on her pumpkin and I decided to paint my pumpkin white and make a ghost.
We also made some fun little haunted houses and scarecrows for decorations– but I found that the biggest hit for Halloween crafts were the very simple black papers. I ordered a craft that had back paper cut into special shapes (bats, witches hats and ghosts). When you use the little tool and scratch the black paper it reveals rainbow colors underneath. There is probably a word for this kind of craft– but this was the biggest hit in our house. They must have done 20 of these each with great delight and we decorated a small halloween tree with our artwork!
As we dive into the colder seasons, I am trying hard to find ways to keep the kids entertained outside and inside the house with fun (non-screen) activities and leaning heavily on seasonal excitement as we continue on in this unusual year! In the midst of it all, I am grateful for children with energy and excitement to try new things and for continued ideas to keep them engaged.
What special ways have you kept your kids entertained? What has worked for you?