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It’s the time of all things fluffy. Spring is in the air. The Easter holidays have begun. What better time to set the kids to work on making an Easter bonnet. But how do you get started?
Eat a few Easter eggs and down a hot chocolate. It will serve as inspiration.
Many shops have all the gear you need, often in kit form, at knock-down prices.
Start with the basic Easter bonnet frame, but try to give it an extra original twist. Raid your children’s toy box and add a stuffed animal or two. Any baby animal will probably do, bar a crocodile.
Take a deep breath: you could always try making your own. This has the potential to be very original or to go horribly wrong. Think of a theme. The thinking part is key. The execution should be left to the odd 20 minutes you might have free while watching Eastenders. Easter is more or less easy for themes: it’s chicks, chocolate, ducks, rabbits and death (rebirth).
After choosing your theme and before you start in earnest: you need a base. Don’t be too elaborate – ie avoid papier mache. It usually goes wrong and if it rains on bonnet day the whole thing will collapse. Cut up an old cereal packet and make a crown base. Involve the kids: they will do it in all sorts of entertaining shapes that you had not previously envisioned. Ensure there is some space left for some small semblance of decoration.
For chicks: these are on sale at all good supermarkets. Buy in bulk. Plaster all over crown. Alternatively, collect feathers from the garden/park and paint yellow. Or cut up pictures of chicks from chick magazines [fortuitously, there is a magazine wholly devoted to such things called Poultry World. It will also give you some endlessly fascinating chick info. You could, if feeling creative, cut the headlines or interesting facts up and paste to the bonnet for extra originality and an educational edge].
For chocolate: why not buy a medium-sized egg and strap it to your child’s head with a ribbon? Instant bonnet. Or smother the bonnet base with melted chocolate and cut out Easter egg wrappings in star and other shapes to embed in the bonnet. If you are feeling like promoting healthy eating, add a grape or two.
For ducks: see chicks. Paint the feathers greeny brown. For rabbits: shave some carrots; cut out some pictures of Bugs Bunny [these may no longer exist so find an equivalent – if you can’t, in desperation cut out pictures of the Care Bears and draw on large teeth].
For death (rebirth): cover hat in tomato ketchup and photocopy and cut out appropriate phrases from the Bible about redemption. It may be gruesome, but it’s more authentic than the chocolate theme.
Remember: this is supposed to be a creative experience that you and your children enjoy. Don’t turn it into a competitive sport, even if it is for some noxious bonnet competition. Explain to your children the beauty of losing. Make up a long list of winners who “have not succeeded in the long term” eg deposed despots, the Bay City Rollers…and another of honourable losers: Paddington Bear, Rick Astley, Bagpuss…Who would they rather be?