December Fun With Happydesigner!

This year has been another stellar one at Happydesigner, and we’re all so chuffed to have been able to work with so many talented and innovative authors! Recently I put together a blog that highlighted some of our recent releases, and it’s so exciting to know the New Year is going to bring many more, and possibly even more awards for the unstoppable Marion Adams, whose book, “Go To Sleep”, has been sweeping the boards! Well done Marion, and well done to everyone who has managed to fulfil their dream this year of writing their own children’s book.

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Go To Sleep Author Marion Adams

So where does that leave the Happydesigner team for the remainder of 2017? Well, between painting and drawing her socks off, Sarah has been visiting Norman Gorman’s, who now have their very own Happydesigner-sponsored Guinea Pig! Geoffery will be staying with the Sanctuary but is being cared for by Happydesigner, which is really great. We’ve also been working on a few new books, which we are so excited to be able to show you when they’re ready! But as the tinsel starts to festoon itself around the house, and the spangly trees begin to appear in windows (who else loves playing “spot the tree” when they’re being driven around after dusk?!), we’re aware that for a lot of people Christmas brings stress, as schools send their kids back home for two weeks (don’t try and send them in anyway, the schools get a bit miffed…) and childminders take a much-needed break from your little angels. So what can you do this festive season to keep everyone entertained?

 

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Decorate a Tree

Some people don’t like trees, and this is perfectly understandable. Whether you don’t want the mess, or you find it a bit odd to bring the outside in, there are plenty of ways you can make your home festive or cosy at this time of year. However, if you are keen on decorating a tree, real or artificial, then make sure the kids have a go too! You can always go back later and rearrange a few bits…they never need know! Or if you really love the “kid” touch, just get them to do the parts they can reach. The important thing is that everyone stays safe (no balancing on rickety old step-ladders!) and that everyone has fun!

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Why not try and make your own decorations? These days there are loads of “paint your own” kits, or if that’s a little messy or above what your child can do then why not cut out cardboard shapes, attach some string and then paint those? If you’re feeling really creative you can even print out “colour-in” images from the internet or draw your own shapes! How about seeing who can draw the most festive Santa, the reddest-nosed reindeer or the happiest Elf? You could use this exercise to explore different festivals that you can teach your children about, such as Hanukkah and Diwali.

Bake Festive Biscuits

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Be careful not to get biscuit mix everywhere like Annie’s Grannies did!

If you want to get the house feeling all snug and cosy for the season, why not bake some biscuits? The internet has so, so many recipes, although we love these super easy star shaped biscuits. Perhaps you can challenge each other to make the most wacky shape, or the most sparkly topping? Make sure they’re still edible though, we’ve all had icing/glitter disasters where it feels like you’re crunching down on gravel! How about adding some spices like cinnamon, clove and ginger to give the biscuit a really festive kick? If you celebrate a different festival this season you could make some snowflake-shaped biscuits, or go all out and see who can make a snowman! The most important job is the clearing up afterwards, so to make sure the kids help out why not do it whilst the biscuits are cooking? That way there’s a tasty reward for helping with the cooking and the cleaning!

Write a Letter to Santa

Now, as adults we all know that Santa is definitely real, although he may have to have a little help from Mum, Dad, Granny and Grandad or other carers! But do you make sure your kids sit down every year to keep in touch with the big man?

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Instead of focusing on what the children are going to get in their stockings, why not focus on asking Santa what Lapland is like, or how the reindeer are? Perhaps get the children to ask Santa for four gifts: something they need, something they want, something they’ll wear and something to read. This way, the children really think about what they’re asking for and it will save you thinking for ages about what your kids can do without, or really could do with getting at Christmas.

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Santa and Birdham Bear love getting post!

Of course, if your children say they want a llama, they need a llama, they’ll wear a llama and they want to read a llama your work might be a little harder, but at least you get a theme to work with! This exercise is a great way to focus children away from just wanting gifts for the sake of having fun things to unwrap on Christmas Day. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, or don’t give gifts, you can still play the game so that next time the kids need something you have a list to work from. Don’t forget to make sure the children ask how Mrs. Santa Claus is, she works just as hard as Santa does during the year and at Christmas! If Santa doesn’t come to your house at Christmas you could ask the children to write letters to someone they admire (even if it’s Pepa Pig!) and get them to practise their writing and drawing skills. Santa (and Pepa) love drawings of themselves!

Wrap Presents in Your Own Paper

This may be a slightly more ntough one if you and your family don’t give gifts at Christmas, but you can still decorate the paper to use another time of the year!

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If you want to really personalise your gifts, why not buy a big roll of sugar paper and get creative? Glitter glue, poster paint and stencils will all come in handy if you want to create your own wrapping paper. If it’s easier, wrap the gift first and then decorate (it may be an idea to wrap the gift in a square box first!). You could buy some ribbon or string and wrap your presents with your own bow as a finishing touch However you choose to do it, make sure you keep the mess on the kitchen table, or on a wipe-clean surface! Glitter glue is fab until you’re having to pick it off the new carpet… get creative, get festive and have fun! Feel free to send your creations to our Facebook page, our twitter or on our Instagram. We’d love to see how you get on!

Decorate a Stocking

You can find plain stockings in many discount shops, and you may even find a few in your local charity shop! Wherever you find one, why not personalischildren's illustratione Christmas to the max this year with decorated stockings?

children's illustration To minimise the mess you can buy festive stickers, or use PVA glue and a peg to help stick on pictures, sparkles, feathers or even bows! Find some glitter glue pens to write names, and get funky! You can add fluffy string, tinsel, fabric – if it sticks, put it on! Your kids will love making sure Santa knows which stocking belongs to which child around the world! If you don’t have stockings why not make cards to send to friends and family? They don’t have to be Christmas cards, although if you do celebrate Christmas then you can make some fab cards for Granny and Grandad, the next door neighbours or the long-suffering teachers!

Whatever you do this December, whatever it is you celebrate, or however you spend your time, we hope this list of suggestions helps you to keep the children in your life happy, amused and occupied for at least five minutes! For other great suggestions check out the Birdham Bear site!

 

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