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Today is Dr Seuss Day! Comments Off on Today is Dr Seuss Day!

Posted on March 02, 2016 by Fancy Dress Ball

Dr-Seuss-Day

 

 

 

Today is Dr Seuss’s birthday! Did you know that Dr Seuss would have been 112 years old today? He died in 1991, but his spirit lives on in his books and characters.

Dr Seuss wrote more than 60 books over the course of his career, but perhaps the most famous was the Cat in The Hat which was originally published in 1957.

Why not throw a Seuss-themed party to celebrate this special day? Here are some ideas to help you on your way:

 

cat-in-the-hat-parfait

Check out this recipe for Cat’s Hat Parfait – it’s simple to make but very effective!

 

cat-in-the-hat-activities

Click the picture for 12 fantastic Cat in the Hat activities

This blog post also has some fantastic Dr Seuss themed ideas.

And finally, of course, here is a tutorial for Cat in the Hat face paint:

 

If you’re celebrating Dr Seuss Day, don’t forget to share some photos on our Facebook page!
 

Most popular children’s book costumes Comments Off on Most popular children’s book costumes

Posted on February 24, 2016 by Fancy Dress Ball

WorldBookDay Children's Costumes

With it being World Book Day next week, we thought it might be fun to look at popular children’s costumes for the day…

We have loads of costume ideas on our World Book Day page, but here are some of the favourites:

Willy Wonka Costume

 

 

Willy Wonka

Everyone’s favourite chocolate factory owner, and instantly recognisable by his crazy outfit and top hat. A brilliant choice for World Book Day – and double points if you finish the outfit with a box of chocolates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice in Wonderland Costume

 

 

 

Alice in Wonderland

Another instantly recognisable costume – in fact, possibly the most recognisable of all! Everyone loves Alice in Wonderland, right? Why not dress up as her!

 

 

 

 

 

The Cat in the Hat

 

 

 

 

The Cat In The Hat

We looked, and we saw him step in on the mat, we looked and we saw him – the Cat in the Hat! Is there a person alive who’s not read this book? We doubt it! It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how – and this is the perfect place to start.

 

 

 

 

Mary Poppins child costume

 

 

 

Mary Poppins

She’s practically perfect in every way – which is probably why she’s so popular on World Book Day! Not just one for the adults; lots of children love to dress up as Mary Poppins too. Extra points if you can find a carpet bag to finish the outfit!

 

 

 

 

 

Have you got your World Book Day costume sorted out yet? There’s still time to get a really great outfit put together! Don’t forget you might also need things like face paints to complete your look!

This Saturday is National Libraries Day! Comments Off on This Saturday is National Libraries Day!

Posted on February 03, 2016 by Fancy Dress Ball

 

National-Libraries-Day

This Saturday 6th February is National Libraries Day. So why not head on down to your local library and get in some serious reading time!

There are some fantastic events going on in libraries all over the UK this weekend so be sure to check in with your local library and see what’s goin on. There are poetry workshops, readings, themed activities and all sorts.

To celebrate, here are five fantastic children’s books which also have characters it’s great fun to dress up as…

1. Alice in Wonderland

You’ve probably seen one of several movie adaptations of it… but don’t forget this classic was originally a book – and Alice comes to life in the pages of it. She’s great to dress up as too – and one of the few costumes you could wear to walk across town to the library without getting funny looks!

2. Harry Potter

Well, we couldn’t very well write about children’s books and not include Harry! Can you believe the first Harry Potter book came out 19 years ago?!

3. The Very Hungry Catterpillar

This Eric Carle classic was first published in 1969 – and has been a childhood favourite for generations now. All children love the Very Hungry Catterpillar; they’ll love to dress up as him too.

4. The Cat In The Hat

This one is even older; Theodore Geisel (aka Dr Seuss) wrote this book in 1957 in response to a debate in the United States about childhood literacy.  The Cat in the Hat is known and loved around the world… and great fun to dress up as!

5. The BFG

Roald Dahl is one of the world’s most popular children’s authors. There are so many of his characters you could dress up as… but this one is just something special; his big ears are great fun to recreate!

 

Are you celebrating National Libraries Day this weekend? If you wear fancy dress for it we’d love to see your costumes! Come and share on our Facebook Page

 

Let’s Have Some Fun This February Half Term! Comments Off on Let’s Have Some Fun This February Half Term!

Posted on February 01, 2016 by Fancy Dress Ball

february-half-term-fun

It’s almost half term! Are you looking forward to it?

If you don’t fancy an entire week of children being slumped on the sofa, don’t panic! We’ve scoured the internet to come up with this great list of fun activities you can do with them… and they’re mostly free! Winner!

  • Get them cooking! Here’s a list of 30 simple recipes kids can do by themselves – so you can supervise to ensure no kitchen redecoration, but they can have loads of fun… and hopefully you get something nice to eat at the end of it.
  • Indulge in some messy play. Don’t be fooled into thinking messy play is only for babies and toddlers; children of all ages love to play with gloopy, gungy stuff. This article has a list of sensory tubs which you could easily knock up of a morning. Or if you want to go all out, why not make some moon dough or some silly putty. Both are really simple to make, and children of all ages love to play with them.
  • Go to the cinema! Most cinemas will have special showings for half term, and tickets are usually cheaper than a normal showing.
  • If the weather is good, why not get outside for some fresh air? Check out this great list of outdoor activities or just go for a good old fashioned walk in a local park or forest. Here are some printable scavenger hunts you can do to make a normal walk more entertaining for youngsters.
  • If the weather is bad, take a look at this brilliant list of “Stuck Inside Games.” These are all brilliant things you can do at home without spending money or switching on the TV.
  • Build a snowman (are we the only people hoping for a white February?)
  • Make bird feeders: simple yet fun, and will hopefully encourage different birds into your garden!
  • Make this cool “rock candy experiment” where children can essentially grow their own lolly pop.
  • Listen to your local radio station to find out abou what might be going on locally. If you don’t know which is your local station, take a look at this website.
  • And finally, our favourite option: have a fancy dress party! It doesn’t need to be somebody’s birthday in order for you to have a cracking party; invite a couple of people over and play dress-ups!

Whatever you end up doing this February half term, make sure it’s loads of fun! We’d love to see photos of your fancy dress antics; why not share on our Facebook page!

Celebrate World Farm Animals Day Comments Off on Celebrate World Farm Animals Day

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

 

world-farm-animals-day

This Friday, 2nd October is World Farm Animals Day.

The day was actually created in memory of Gandhi, who believed in treating all living beings with respect. The idea is to highlight the poor conditions suffered by some farm animals, and to promote awareness in the hope of improving their lives.

That all sounds quite bleak and miserable, doesn’t it. We can also celebrate farm animals though. A great way to do this is to visit a farm. We’re always seeing in the news that children these days think milk comes from the shop, or eggs just magically appear in a box. These days many children genuinely don’t know where there food comes from and a visit to a local farm can help with that.

Here are our top ideas for celebrating World Farm Animal Day:

  • Community farms are great to visit because they often have initiatives where children can get involved in the farming process – by feeding animals or collecting eggs. This helps them to become familiar with the idea of a farm and farm animals. And by spending time with the animals, they will be more inclined to see that farm animals deserve respect and care, just like their pet dog or cat.
  • If you can’t get out to visit a community farm, we have a fantastic idea for a way to celebrate World Farm Animals Day. You’ll never guess what it is… fancy dress! You could create your own farm at home, school or work. Each dress as a different animal, paint your faces and really get into character.
  • If you don’t want to paint your face, check out these brilliant farm animal mask printables.
  • Make a donation to an animal protection charity in honour of World Farm Animal Day
  • Use your initiative and artistic skills to decorate farm animal cupcakes or biscuits. Mini marshmallos make great sheep wool, and chocolate buttons are great spots for fresian cows!
  • Failing all of that, just watch this suer-cute video of mini pigs:

 

If there is anything in this world more cute than a mini pig enjoying having its belly scratched, we don’t know what it is!

Two Decades of Toy Story! Comments Off on Two Decades of Toy Story!

Posted on September 07, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

toy-storyTwenty years ago, the genius that is Toy Story first showed in American cinemas. Can you believe that?

All three Toy Story movies are available on Netflix this month, starting with the first one being released this Friday, the 11th. Are you excited? We are!

When it came out in 1995, people were not sure about the idea of an animated movie. Would it be any good? Would it hurt our eyes to watch a cartoon for that long? Would it be believeable? Their doubts were soon blown out of the water by Buzz and Woody and the story of Andy’s toys. Now considered to be one of – if not the – best animated movies ever made, Toy Story is possibly the ultimate buddy movie and also achieved that rarest of things: two sequels that were just as good as the original, if not better.

With 20 years of viewing, people of all ages love Toy Story and it’s one of those classics you can sit and watch with the kids, and laugh as much as they do.  Why not organise a family Toy Story viewing this weekend, complete with Buzz Lightyear costumes, popcorn and – of course – a bevvy of toys on the sofa.

Here is some great Toy Story trivia to help get you in the mood:

  • The animation team perfected the movement of the toy soldiers by gluing a pair of trainers to a piece of board and trying to walk around on it!
  • In early versions of the script, Woody’s love interest was to be a Barbie doll – but Mattel, the company that owns Barbie, declied to have her in the film as they thought it would be a flop. They obviously changed their minds after the success of the first film, since both Barbie and Ken appear in later movies.
  • Whenever a character blinks, their eyes bline one after the other, not together – keey an eye out for that one when you’re watching! (see what we did there)
  • All of the cars have a November 1995 number plate – because this is the month the movie was released.
  • Many people will know that Disney animated movies usually have a hidden Mickey head. In Toy Story, it is in the form of a “giant watch” clock on the wall in Andy’s bedroom.
  • Just below the back of Buzz’s waistband, you can see the Disney registration trademark. (pause buttons at the ready!)
  • Andy’s last name is Davis – but we only know this because the actress who voices his mum is listed in the credit as “Mrs Davis.
  • At the beginning of the movie at Andy’s birthday party, Sarge is looking through binoculars at the partygoers, you can see that all of the children are the same character model as Andy, just with different skin tones and clothes.
  • The carpet in Sid’s house has the same pattern as the carpet in the hotel from the movie The Shining (ask your parents if you don’t know)
  • When Sarge looks through his binoculars for the first time, they are upside down
  • Woody tells Buz that his “laser” is just a “light bulb that blinks” – but when Buzz tries it out, it does make a single red dot – so it must be a laser rather than a light bulb!
  • In some scenes, Andy’s mum’s minivan has a sunroof – but in others, it doesn’t.

Enjoy looking for these in the movie!

To infinity, and beyond!!

Have a Summer Fancy Dress Picnic! Comments Off on Have a Summer Fancy Dress Picnic!

Posted on August 03, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

fancy-dress-summer-picnic

The Summer Holidays are in full swing now, and the novelty of not having to go to school has probably worn off slightly.

If you’re looking for a fun activity to fill those long Summer days, why not throw a Summer fancy dress picnic? It needn’t cost you a fortune; just arrange with friends to all bring your own picnic and picnic blanket, and the children (and adults if they like!) can all dress in their favourite fancy dress outfit.

The great thing about a picnic is, even if it’s just the same cheese sandwiches you eat at home, it feels special because you’re outside, sitting on a blanket.  Add in a fancy dress costume, and you’re laughing! Children don’t need much to be entertained; just the very fact of being somewhere different, wearing something different, is often enough to set their imaginations alight.

Here are our top tips for a successful fancy dress Summer picnic:

  • Whether you’re looking for costume ideas or fancy recipes, Pinterest is the place to look. Seriously, this is the sort of event Pinterest was made for and you’re bound to find loads of brilliant ideas.  For example, this pin:
  • picnic-recipes
  • Don’t over-think it! Arrange to meet a couple of other families at the park, and stress that it’s not a big deal. Nobody wants to be stressing over something that’s meant to be fun!
  • Freeze your drinks and use them as ice blocks to keep the food cool. This will mean less to carry there, and even less to carry back again!
  • Bring bubbles. Never underestimate how much fun children can have with just a couple of bottles of bubbles mixture. Double points if you can get one of those massive bubble swords that make gigantic bubbles!
  • You don’t need to go far. Anywhere with a bit of green space is ideal. You could even just put up some bunting in your garden and invite people to picnic with you there.
  • Cutting sandwiches into different shapes always makes them more tasty. Even if you only cut the crusts off, they’re always more exciting than what you eat at home every day.
  • Bring sun hats and sun cream, and try to sit in (or near) the shade. We know the Great British Summer has a habit of disappearing, but it can also sometimes creep up unannounced – and sun stroke is nobody’s idea of a good time.
  • Have fun!

If you’re having a fancy dress picnic this Summer Holidays, we’d love to see some photos! Why not share them on our Facebook wall or Tweet us @FancyDressBall.

10 Easy Last Minute World Book Day Costumes Comments Off on 10 Easy Last Minute World Book Day Costumes

Posted on March 02, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

10 Easy Last Minute World Book Day

 

Everyone knows it’s World Book Day on Thursday, right?

And your child’s school is having a fancy dress day. The letter came home weeks ago… What do you mean, you haven’t had it? Did Junior not pass it on to you? Go check his school bag… yep, that’s it, the one screwed up and sporting a mysterious stain over half of the text. Don’t panic! You still have a few days to get a costume together…

Here are ten last minute costumes that you can still do without major upheaval. But before you get started, make sure World Book Day is in your organiser for next year, so that you can order a costume online and save all this bother!

1. A Rabbit

Watership Down is one of the best-loved children’s books of all time. If your child has never read it, there’s the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland (though that one would require clothes), there’s one in Rod Campbell’s brilliant Oh Dear, there’s Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny,  the rabbits in Guess How Much I Love You… the list is endless.

You will need brown or white trousers and long sleeved top, depending on which colour of rabbit you are aiming for. If you don’t have any bunny ears hanging about the house (it’s coming up to Easter, so they often tend to appear at this time of year), either buy some (a certain make of Easter egg came with fluffy brown bunny ears last year) or make some using an old alice band with 2 card ears taped to them.

To make it look a little less last minute, here is a fantastic tutorial for rabbit face paint that will make it look like you started planning this costume months ago and are a complete pro at this sort of thing…

 


2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This one is so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it last year! Dress your child in green, and make a mask from a paper plate painted red. For added effect, tie a belt around their waist with plastic food from a toy kitchen hanging from it with string: an ice cream, a pickle, some cheese… you get the idea. You could even throw in a pair of butterfly wings if you find yourself with time to spare!

3. A Witch

Room on the Broom is really popular, as is The Worst Witch for slightly older children. Have a rummage around in the cupboard; there’s bound to be a hat and cape left over from Halloween!

4. Captain Underpants

Captain Underpants is of course famous for going about in just his underpants and a cape… obviously your child cannot spend the day at school like this – but he can wear a pair of pants over plain trousers, and a cape over a plain top.

5. The Fat Controller

From Thomas the Tank, silly! This one is great fun and really simple. You’ll need a white shirt that’s a little too big (perhaps belonging to an older brother). Put it on, and put a cushion underneath it for a belly. Then black trousers, a black jacket and a black top hat. If you don’t have a black top hat hanging about the house here is a really simple tutorial to help you make one:

 


6. Harry Potter77292741_ec5b47243b

You can probably get away with a fake scar on the forehead and some round glasses for this one. Great additions would be a black cloak, a broom stick, a red and gold tie (Gryffindor colours), a magic wand and a toy owl.

7. The Cat In The Hat

Does your child have a onesie that’s at all furry and could pass as a cat? If not, black leggings and a black or grey top. Make a red and white top hat using the tutorial above and attach a red bow to their collar (best not to actually tie it around their neck). Here’s a great tutorial for Cat In The Hat face paint:

8. Fantastic Mr Fox

Dress your child in brown or orange – again, most kids have a onesie so if it’s the right colour, just use that. You can make a mask and tail without too much bother. We love this mask tutorial, though if you don’t have sheets of coloured felt around the house (who does!) you can use paper, or just draw the shapes on. Templates are available from the poster’s website, and the shape is what you’re really after with this one.

You can make a basic tail from coloured card; cut out the basic shape and selotape onto the back of the trousers. If you have more time, an offcut of brown or orange fur sewn into a tube shape and stuffed with whatever is available works well.

9. Peter Pan

A green t shirt and shorts over green tights. If there are no green tights, a different colour will be fine. Use green felt or paper to cover the shoes; it doesn’t need to be fancy as it’s likely to have been kicked off by lunch time any way! You can make a really simple hat out of coloured paper using this great tutorial, presented by kids’ TV favourite Kirsten O’Brien.

10. Tinkerbell

Lots of little girls already have a fairy costume, especially since the new Tinkerbell movies have been coming out. Most don’t realise she was originally a character in a proper book though!

Ten Things You Never Knew About The Wombles Comments Off on Ten Things You Never Knew About The Wombles

Posted on February 02, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

 

 

10 things you never knew about the wombles

On February 5th, 1973, the Wombles… er… wombled onto our screens for the very first time. The original Wombles we mean; none of that 1990s remake malarkey! We love the Wombles and everything about them. Their fabulous stop motion TV show, their albums (yes, really), dressing up as them (obviously). The only thing we don’t like about them is that there were only two seasons made. Yes, really – only two seasons of such an amazing children’s show! We find it hard to believe too.

In celebration of the Wombles’ 42nd birthday, here are ten things you never knew about them.

1. The Wombles’ TV series began after the first Wombles book was featured on the BBC programme Jackanory. They liked it so much, they commissioned a 30-episode series!

2. All of the characters were voiced by legendary children’s TV stalwart Bernard Cribbins – even Madame Cholet!

3. The Wombles released no fewer than four albums: Wombling Songs in 1973, Remember You’re a Womble in 1974, Keep on Wombling, also in 1974, and Superwombling in 1975. All four albums went gold, and four of the singles reached the Top 10. They appeared on Top of the Pops several times, and were the most successful act of 1974, with their albums in the chart for more weeks than any other act.

4. The Wombles books were written by Elizabeth Beresford. Their name came from Beresford’s daughter, who mis-pronounced Wimbledon when Beresford took her children to Wimbledon Common for a walk.

5. The Womble characters were all based on members of Beresford’s family. Great Uncle Bulgaria was her father-in-law Orinoco was her son. Madame Cholet was her mother; Beresford herself was born in Paris.

6. Beresford wrote more than 20 Wombles books, which were translated into more than 40 languages.

7. There was a Wombles stage show which ran in the West End!

8. Wombles are burrowing animals and live underground. They have retractable claws but rarely use them as their burrows on Wimbledon Common are long established.

9. In the original Wombles books, they were depicted as bear-like characters, between 4 and 5 feet tall.  In the TV show though, they were portrayed as being knee-high to humans with more pointy noses

10. Wombles are herbivores and are particularly fond of mushrooms. Womble delicacies include grassbread sandwiches, daisy buns, acorn juice and fir-cone souffle.

National Storytelling Week Comments Off on National Storytelling Week

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

s National Storytelling Week!

 

This Saturday marks the beginning of the fifteenth National Storytelling Week. From 31st January to 7th February we will be celebrating the most ancient art form of them all. Everyone loves a good story; it’s something we learn to enjoy at a very young age, and which never leaves us.

National Storytelling Week celebrates all sorts of stories; from telling people how your day was, to biographies, to children’s books or even TV dramas. Storytelling is something everyone gets involved with, and is something that enriches every culture and every life.

National Storytelling Week takes part in schools, museums, hospitals, and even care homes each year. If you’d like to hold your own event, you can contact the Society for Storytelling and they will send you a pack.

What sort of storytelling event could you put on?

Grandparent Storytelling

If you have children, get them together with a group of their friends and have grandparents take turns in telling stories about their childhoods and how they were different. Children love hearing about “the olden days” – even the 1980s is “the olden days” these days!

Fancy Dress

Our favourite idea, obviously – have a party and get everyone to dress up as their favourite character from a story.  This gives you a massive scope for costumes, since every single character you can think of is a character from a story – Batman, Wonder Woman, Peter Pan. Fairytales, children’s books, heck, you could throw a Hunger Games party – Hunger Games is a story!

Consequences Party

Invite friends over and play a huge game of consequences. Remember that game from childhood, where you write the first line of a story, then fold over the top and pass it to the next person to add their line. It’s a great way of making up a really creative story and having fun, and can work with all age groups.

Put on a Community Play

The most important part of National Storytelling Week is the storytelling part of it. It’s a great chance to hear stories – both made up and real-life, from those around us. Fancy dress is a great way of immersing ourselves in that story; a community play can be a great way to get to know those around you, as well as learn new skills – and dress up!

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