Got any dressing up ideas?

This blog is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. For more info about my book Homemade Kids click here

Face painting is always popular amongst the under 5s. But reading the author Meg Rosoff’s blog I see that there is a new craze in China for pet-painting. The results are amazing, see this tiger above.

“I thought that was a tiger! A dog cross a tiger,” says Nell, 10, amazed looking over my shoulder as I type. I think that might be because she’s never seen such a beast before – I know she doesn’t confuse children with their faces painted as tigers.

Can you face paint?
A lot of mums lack confidence about whether they can face paint, but the answer is definitely yes and it’s pretty easy to practice once you’ve got a few face paints. Just ask one of your child’s friends if they’d like a face paint when they next come round.

I always copy pictures from how to face paint books (plenty in charity shops and at carboot sales but you’ll also find downloads on the web). But if these props aren’t around and I’m lacking inspiration – or need to occupy a large number of children who don’t really care about the details so aren’t good sitters, then I just paint their face with a super simple image.

At Halloween this could be a bat, or a scary word, like “poison”, or the outline of a potion bottle. Or a ghosty shape or a pumpkin!

At Christmas it could be a holly leaf or a star.

Around Eid borrow the tracery patterns used on hands with henna. Face paint is much quicker to dry which little children will certainly appreciate.

I’m not sure what would work at a Mela, something to find out.

Here are some other ideas for very simple, pleasing designs that you can rush out – one per cheek. Star, cat face, flying bird (looks like an m), tree leaf, apple, teddy bear, daffodil, map of a country (that’s going to be challenging!), ballet slippers, shoes or boots.

My youngest child, Nell, has sometimes got a rash from face paint so there’s a rule in our house that the design can only stay on until bedtime. If this is causes tears I try to numb the pain by taking a photo before the flannel washes away someone’s artistic genius. I also think this may be a good habit to get into once they progress into being make-up wearing teens.

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