Toddler-Friendly Bonfire Afternoon

my toddler and I had lots of fun getting ready for Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night as it is also known, this year. At 17 months, my toddler is still a little young for an evening of bonfires, sparklers and fireworks, so I decided to create a toddler-friendly Bonfire Afternoon for her to enjoy with four different activities.

Foil Sparklers:

First, we made Foil Sparklers. These are incredibly easy to make. All you need is a rectangle of kitchen foil. Tear or cut horizontally in strips about 1cm apart from the left side into the middle until you have a fringe.

Then carefully roll the foil from the bottom upwards, taking care not to damage the fringe. Twist to keep it all together and then give it to your toddler to play with!

my toddler loved her foil sparkler, and particularly the exciting noise it made when shaken!

Sensory Bottles:

Now my toddler had a sparkler, it was time to recreate some fireworks! For this, we made sensory bottles.
We used:

  • Two empty water bottles
  • Water
  • Sunflower oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Food colouring
  • Effervescent tablets (you can use Alka Seltzer or Sterident)

Add equal quantities of water and oil (you can add a little more oil than water if desired), then add some food colouring. Finally, pop between 1 and 3 effervescent tablets into the water bottle and enjoy watching the reaction!

I only used 1 tablet in each bottle but if I were doing this activity again I would use more, as the reaction was not as powerful as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, my toddler found these bottles mesmerising and played with them for ages!

We finished with two painting activities.

Fireworks painting with pipe cleaners:

my toddler began by painting fireworks using pipe cleaners. This was very simple to set up. I took 3-4 pipe cleaners, twisted them at the middle point and then fanned the ends out like a star. This creates the effect of fireworks exploding.

I also put out three different colours of paint, but you could use as many colours as you like. As my toddler is still quite young, I showed her what to do first but she got the hang of it quickly and was able to dip one of the pipe cleaner ‘fans’ in the paint and then press it down onto the sugar paper. We used navy sugar paper to create the effect of the night sky, so the bright colours of the fireworks would stand out on the paper.

Bonfire painting using toilet paper rolls:

To prepare, I cut strips along a toilet paper roll to about the middle and fanned the ends out. We were going to use these in the same way as we did the pipe cleaner ‘fans’.

The original idea was to create more firework-like shapes but the overall effect ended up being more similar to that of a bonfire. my toddler had great fun splattering the paint over the page with the toilet roll tubes.

We used red, orange and yellow colours, which were perfect for creating flames.

Next time we do this activity, it would be good to try to create the effect of the wood burning at the bottom of the page. We could do this by painting logs, either with brown finger paint or dipping pipe cleaners into paint and pressing onto the paper, or possibly by sticking brown pipe cleaners onto the page. Let me know what you decided to do if you recreated this activity.

my toddler and I thoroughly enjoyed our Bonfire Afternoon and we hope you all enjoy Guy Fawkes Night, whatever you choose to do. Have a wonderful and safe time!

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