A Witchy WednesdayPosted: 02/11/2013
As part of my sudden conversion to celebrating Halloween this year – or at least to using it as inspiration for some fun toddler activities! – I decided to put together a Witchy Wednesday for ToddlerGirl and myself. This was a huge success; we had so much fun together and I absolutely loved spending an afternoon in with my little girl.
We started off at lunchtime by listening to our Room on the Broom CD as we ate. (If I’d been a bit more organised, I might have made some witchy-themed snacks for our lunch but we just had a normal old lunch.) We love Room on the Broom, so this was perfect for getting us in the mood.
I had a few different activities planned for the afternoon, all revolving around the theme of a witch’s kitchen:
- A pretend play kitchen area, consisting of a small cauldron, made from an old sweeties tub covered in black paper; a black ladle and some wooden spoons for stirring; a tray full of special witch’s ingredients (old socks, some black card cut into bat shapes, some purple foam wiggly worms and an assortment of colourful feathers); a couple of potion recipe cards, which each included very rudimentary drawings of three of the ingredients.
- A witch’s brew sensory bottle, using a clean dry water bottle half filled with water, green food colouring and some glitter glue; and a few of ToddlerGirl’s tea cups filled with different Halloween themed sequin shapes and googly eyes.
- A special witch’s recipe to make crunchy chocolate nests using Shredded Wheat, melted chocolate, marshmallows and chocolate chips.
- Two homemade witches brooms, made from empty wrapping paper rolls with a piece of black card taped at one end and cut into strips to give a brush effect; and a few dressing up items, including a witch’s hat and some magic wands.
To help ToddlerGirl understand the concept of making a potion and using a cauldron, we read Meg and Mog, a great book I remember from my own childhood, following the witch Meg one Halloween. Once we had read this, I left it open on a page showing the witches mixing together their magic potion (along with the spell page of Room with a Broom) and we were ready to begin.
We looked at all the ingredients and then I showed ToddlerGirl a recipe card, to make our very own witch’s broom. “What ingredient do you think we need first? What does the picture show?” To my surprise, she immediately answered me and grabbed the ingredients to add to the cauldron. I say surprise because a) I hadn’t really expected her to get the idea of the game so quickly and b) my drawings really bore very little resemblance to the items, so I was pretty impressed that she managed to figure out what they were meant to be! (OK, she did mistake my picture of a bat for a bird…) After adding all the ingredients, we stirred them together in the cauldron and then got our magic wands to wave while we said our spell, a strange mix of several well known magic phrases: “Abracadabra… Bibbety bobbity boo… Iggetty ziggetty zaggetty zoooom…” With a flourish, I produced one of the broomsticks. ToddlerGirl was impressed. We used recipe card number two to produce a matching broomstick for Mummy and then spent some time ‘flying’ around the room, which ToddlerGirl absolutely loved. She was giggling away in delight and it was a great way to introduce some physical activity to the afternoon. D was out in his office and glanced up to see us prancing past the window with the broomsticks between our legs, wondering what on earth we were up to!
We spent a bit more time concocting magic potions, stirring them, spooning them onto our plates and pretending to eat them. This whole twist on a pretend kitchen worked really well and absorbed ToddlerGirl for maybe an hour (interspersed with some more broomstick flying of course).
After this, we made our witch’s brew sensory bottle, with ToddlerGirl carefully adding the sequins and googly eyes and squeezing in a tube of gooey green glitter glue. I topped the bottle up with water and taped the lid shut and we then spent some time rolling this around, trying to spy the sequin shapes and eyes floating in the water. I wanted the liquid to be green but the mixture of different glitter glue colours I added meant that we ended up with a dark greeny black colour. Nevermind, this still looked suitably witchy but did mean that the sequins were harder to spot inside.
We then washed our hands and got down to making our chocolate nests. This is an Easter recipe so not at all witchy but very simple to do with a toddler and sort of continued the witch’s kitchen idea… ToddlerGirl really enjoyed making these and largely did them by herself with some careful supervision (mainly to ensure she didn’t eat all the ingredients!) She crunched up the Shredded Wheats and particularly liked stirring in the melted chocolate, sneaking the odd taste of course. When the mixture was ready, she carefully scooped up small spoonfuls to add to the cake cases and then added the decorations, generously sprinkling whole handfuls of chocolate chips and mini marshmallows on top. A few made their way into her mouth unsurprisingly and we finished off by licking the two chocolately bowls, both of us giggling happily at the naughtiness of slurping pure melted chocolate. Yum!
With all our witchy activities done, we snuggled on the sofa (with our broomsticks) to watch the Room on the Broom DVD, which was just lovely. ToddlerGirl was glued to it. She needed a little cuddle when the dragon came along and we had to tell him very sternly to “Go away, pesky dragon!” but it’s very low on the scariness scale so fine for even smaller toddlers.
Some days, the great activity I have planned doesn’t hold ToddlerGirl’s attention for very long and I wonder if it was worth the effort. Our Witchy Wednesday was one of those times when it all works out even better than I expected! We had a brilliant afternoon playing together, so I think I’ll be recycling this one next Halloween (or maybe even sooner).