maria-george-trooping

10 ways to keep children entertained this half term by royally approved Norland College

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge employed Maria Turrion Borrallo shortly after Prince George's birth

Britta Zeltmann

Having started school in September, Princess Charlotte has had a busy start to the academic year, leaving brother Prince Louis at home with their nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo and joining Prince George at Thomas's Battersea. Fortunately for Charlotte and George, the October half term is in sight and from 24 October until 1 November, they will be free to enjoy some well-deserved rest at home. Nanny Maria is likely to be in high demand for the week and having trained at Norland College - the prestigious childcare providers who have trained nannies for Britain's elite since 1892 – she's sure to have plenty of fun activities planned. From pumpkin bowling to autumn nature hunts, the college has exclusively given HELLO! some insider tips on how to keep children busy this half term. Read on for inspiration…

Norland Nannies College has given HELLO! some tips for half term

Paint your own pumpkins

Pumpkin carving might seem an obvious activity for October – but Norland Nannies use a splash of paint to take their pumpkins to the next level. "All you will need is a small pumpkin per child, some paint brushes, child-friendly paints and a cover for the table," Norland College tells us. "Little ones will love painting their pumpkin however they wish, while older children can help you carve their pumpkin by drawing on a face pattern for you to follow. Smaller children can then assist by pulling out the seeds, adding to the sensory experience."

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Make your own apple pumpkin prints

You don't just need a pumpkin to create a spooky work of art. Create a masterpiece by taking an apple, some orange child-friendly paint, a black marker, googly eyes, non-toxic PVA glue and paper. Norland college tells HELLO!: "Simply cut the apple in half for your child, dip it in the paint and print onto the paper. Wait for it to dry and decorate as much as you wish. This activity is perfect for creating invitations for a spooky Halloween party!"

Host a game of pumpkin bowling

If you're planning a Halloween party for your little ones this half term, pumpkin bowling is sure to be a smash hit. "Collect plastic bottles and paint them with white and black child-friendly paint to look like ghosts," Norland College advises. "Find a small round pumpkin or orange ball and roll the pumpkin at the ghosts to knock down as many as you can."

Get outdoors and go on a leaf hunt

Discover how many different coloured, shaped and sized leaves you can find on a nature walk this half term. "Ask the children to place their leaves and treasures into their buckets," Norland College tells HELLO! "After your hunt, bring everyone together to show each other what they have found. You can use the different leaves you’ve found to create leaf prints – just dip them in paint and press onto card. It's a great way to develop language and observation skills."

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Throw a Halloween Party

Planning a party is exciting at any age and Halloween is the perfect opportunity to throw a spooktacular event. Norland Nannies are encouraged to help little ones create invitations and decorations such as Halloween bunting, pumpkin wool pom poms and white ghost balloons. They will also be getting creative in the kitchen: "Cook brownies together and decorate them to create little graveyard brownies. Red or green jelly also makes perfect slime and turning olives, tomatoes or pepperoni on a pizza into spiders using little slices of olive or red pepper will create a creepy pizza."

Maria has been with the Cambridge's since 2014

Make your own cotton wool ghosts

We love the idea of making little ghosts made from card and white cotton wool. All you will need is some ghost-shaped pieces of white card, lots of cotton wool balls, some black card cut into eye and mouth shapes and lots of child friendly PVA glue. "Older children can help you to prepare the materials beforehand. Then children can stick the cotton wool balls to the ghost shapes and add the eye and mouth features on top, to make their own ghosts. Pop a hole and some string in the top, and you have another homemade decoration," we are told.

Hunt for treasure in a bowl of spaghetti worms

We're usually taught not to play with our food – but Norland Nannies are happy to make an exception on this occasion. You will just need to hide some age appropriate prizes in a large bowl of cooked and cooled spaghetti, such as foil-wrapped chocolate eyeballs, ping-pong-ball eyeballs or spider toys. Norland College tells us: "This is a simple and effective sensory activity that children of all ages will love. Children can rummage around in the spaghetti worms for surprises, younger children can just play with the 'worms' in the bowl."

Make your own spooky bunting with potato prints

Make your own bunting by gathering some images of Halloween shapes, some potatoes, a knife to carve with, some paints and an old white sheet. According to Norland Nannies, an adult should: "Cut the sheet into triangles using a cardboard template. You will need two triangles of material for each piece of bunting. Cut the potatoes in half and cut out the Halloween shape on the potato. Children of all ages can sponge the paint onto the potato and then press onto the material. Leave to dry, then place two printed triangles with the plain side facing and sew the longest sides together, before turning them the right side around and ironing them. Sew the triangles onto bias tape or ribbon, then hang up and enjoy."

Witches potions and home made gloop

For some interactive fun, make a whole variety of witch's potions using food dyes, slices of fruit and fresh aromatic herbs. Norland College suggests: "Let the children combine baking soda and vinegar for exciting bubbling results. Use saucepans as cauldrons along with mixing spoons and whisks, and plastic bowls for the magic ingredients." You can also make your own gloop by mixing two cups of cornflour with one cup of water. You will feel the mixture changing and can add various food dyes in for extra effect.

The Cambridge's Nanny trained at Norland College

Play 'Guess what's in the monster's mouth'

Children of all ages can play this fun Halloween themed game, making it more difficult for older children by using a time limit. Norland College advises decorating a box to make it look like a friendly monster, leaving a large hole for its mouth. "Cover the hole with a flap of material to prevent children being able to see inside, then put different everyday objects from around the house in its mouth, so that children use their senses to guess what's inside. Object ideas include a metal spoon, a toy car, a small musical instrument, a toy bug, a whisk, a banana, a wooden yo-yo and so on. Add cooked and cooled spaghetti for a heightened sensory experience."

Aspiring Norland Nannies can find out more about Norland's degree with a difference at its next open day on Saturday 9 November. Book at norland.ac.uk – with applications for the 2020/21 class now open.

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