Bonfire night is a real UK institution, and it takes place at the time of year when the short, chilly days and damp weather make indoor activities all the more appealing. Keep your little ones busy with these ideas for bonfire and firework themed activities. They’re good fun and give your child an opportunity to further develop their gross and fine motor skills, as well as their creativity.
Bonfire themed activities
Bonfire finger painting
Start with a yellow blob of paint at the bottom of the page and use fingers to spread the paint upwards over the page. Repeat with orange and red for an exciting flame-like effect. Add some PVA glue, glitter and red lentils for even more sensory interest.
Glue some twigs in a pile at the base of a sheet of paper. Rip strips of red, orange and yellow tissue paper and glue above the twigs for a realistic bonfire with texture.
Make chocolate cupcakes and help your child pipe on some thick chocolate icing. Snap some matchmakers or chocolate fingers in half and stick into the icing for the ‘logs.’ Caramel shards make convincing flames to poke into the top of the icing.
Colour ‘bleed’ bonfire
Cut some flame shapes from red, orange and yellow tissue paper. Arrange the ‘flames’ on a sheet of white paper and paint over them generously with water. Leave for a few minutes to allow the colour to transfer from the tissue paper to the white page. Remove the tissue paper leaving an interesting colour mixing effect.
Collect vibrant autumn leaves, fabric, empty packaging, pieces of string - anything you can find that is fire coloured and not too precious - plus some chunky sticks or cardboard tubes. Use an old sheet as a backdrop either indoors or outdoors, and help your child arrange all your items to create a super-sized textured image of a bonfire. Take photos as it is impractical to keep the mural intact.
Squirt shaving cream into a deep tray, spread out and add fire coloured paints. Swirl with a paintbrush or finger. Gently lay a sheet of paper on top and peel back to reveal your marbled pattern. Repeat. Scrape off excess foam from paper and leave to dry before using to make a bonfire collage.
Fireworks themed activities
Use black or dark blue paper for the most dramatic effect, and select some of the following objects to print your fireworks: plastic scouring pad, paper doilies, star fruit, dishwashing brush, plastic forks.
Part fill small a balloon with water, blow up and tie. Dip the bottom of the balloon into bright liquid paint and drop onto a large piece of black paper. The splatter shape looks like a firework. Repeat with different colours. Alternatively take a length of wool, dip into liquid paint to coat, and drop onto black paper. Combine the two techniques for even more messy fun.
Salad spinner fireworks
Cut some circles of black paper to fit the base of the spinner bowl. Fix inside with blue tack and let your child blob some bright paint onto the black paper. Put on the lid and spin! Add glitter for an even more exciting result.
Dip the ends of chocolate fingers or breadsticks into icing and then into edible sparkly sprinkles. Why not try melted chocolate to coat skewered apple slices as an alternative to using dangerous hot toffee? These can also be jazzed up with sprinkles.
Put a blob of paint onto paper and use a straw to blow rivulets of paint into a firework shape. Repeat with different colours. The paint must be quite watery for this activity to work. Remind your child to blow not suck. Use white paper as the thin paint may not show on black paper.
Spread brightly coloured sprinkles onto white paper. Mist lightly with water and watch as the colours leak onto the damp page. When dry, shake off the sprinkles leaving a lovely firework effect.
Make up some watery paint in a variety of colours. Fill water balloons with the paint, place a large sheet of paper on an outdoor surface and let the children throw the balloons at the paper creating an explosive firework pattern when they burst.
Chop different fruits and thread onto wooden skewers. Finish with a pointy strawberry to look like the ‘nosecone’ of the rocket. You could add foil streamers to the base of the rocket for an extra special effect.
With these fun, toddler-friendly activities, you and your little ones can join in on the bonfire night fun whilst staying safe. Enjoy!
Written for the Pre-school Learningg Alliance by Martha Hales.