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Sometimes young children love the simplest activities made with materials around the house. Playing with old masks, redecorating them, or making new ones is a lot of fun for Halloween or year around play. You will need a medium brown paper bag, construction paper, glue, stapler, crayons or markers, scissors, small decorations like feathers, ribbon, yarn, and string. Also, look around for fun things to wear like hats, ear muffs, old shirts and other dress up materials. You can take out old Halloween costumes early.Paper Plate MasksAfter talking with your children about what they would like to pretend to be, help them color and decorate a white paper plate and cut out holes for eyes and nose. Glue on yarn for hair and staple pieces of colored paper to make noses, whiskers, or ears. Use string connected through small holes on each side to tie on the mask. Younger children often prefer to hold a mask in front of their face with a tongue depressor or popsicle stick.You can also use an old ski hat to make a mask. Cut out holes for eyes and nose, sew around the holes so the cap doesn’t unravel, decorate, and pull down over the head.Paper bag masks can also be used. With a medium-sized paper bag, measure where the eyes and nose should be by putting it over your child’s head. Mark the eyes and mouth. Take it off, cut holes, and decorate. Bags are especially good for robot costumes.Making HeadbandsHeadbands rather than a face masks often work best for very young children. Make a face or hat with colored paper, decorate with other paper pieces or add feathers, yarn hair. Then measure a strip of paper to fit your child’s head. Staple the strip to the decorated part for a face-free mask. You can make easy crowns for kings and queens and super hero head gear. You might want to google free coloring pages for animals heads to color and attach.If there are several children, they can act out familiar stories like “The Three Bears” or “The Three Billy-Goats Gruff.”Sometimes the best pretend clothing might be just an apron, shawl, glasses or special hat. Grandchildren love to pretend drill, hammer, and build while wearing ear muffs as ear protectors. Children can pretend to be TV, cartoon or story characters, animals, royalty, all kinds of professions, and superheroes with just a little help from you. Be sure to visit a children’s museum for more dress up fun.With your help, children plan a project, use important small muscles in their hands, and develop artistic creativity, and role play with their imagination.
Esther Macalady is a former schoolteacher who lives in Golden. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons podcasts and live.
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