Outdoor family activities: warm up winter with a fire breathing dragon!

This fun family winter activity is sponsored by the social shopper media company Collective Bias.

We all love getting out and about with our children during the summer. There tends to be so much on offer and so many outdoor family activities to enjoy. But, as winter starts to rear its head and the temperature begins to drop, having outdoor adventures aren’t quite as appealing.

I really enjoy encouraging my brood outside when I can. With two full-time working adults in the family, being able to have fun and spend some quality time together when we are all at home is a must. I treasure my time with my children and love trying to think of activities to do with them especially when it involves getting out of the house. Being outdoors gets us all away from modern-day distractions (although I will always take my phone with me just in case of an emergency) and allows us to focus on simply being together and enjoying each other’s company.

This Christmas and New Year, I have 3 weeks at home. That’s right – 3 whole weeks! With all the excesses and indulgences that this time of year inevitably brings, I’ve been trying to come up with an idea that would grab Sophia and Dexter’s attention, divert their attention away from all the Christmas films on the television and chocolate and sweets in the kitchen cupboard, and get us all doing something fun together.

That’s when I hit upon the idea of making our own dragons. Dragon costumes to be precise. One thing that I love about winter is the fact that you can see your breath when it gets really cold. It always makes me think of fire-breathing dragons. While you could make a dragon costume at any time of year, it has real potential to ‘come alive’ in winter because of the cold weather.

Make your own dragon costumes #cbias #shop

Although I’m not the most talented crafter on the planet, I thought I’d have a go at making some simple dragon costumes (wings and faces) with Sophia and Dexter so that we could dress up and play outside. It would certainly give them some fresh air in their lungs, a rosy glow in their cheeks and lots of family fun with us all getting involved.

If you would like to make a simple foam dragon costume for a pre-schooler or other young child, here’s how I made ours.

What you will need
  • 2 A3-sized sheets of foam
  • 2 A4-sized sheets of foam
  • PVA glue
  • 1 foam visor
  • 1m of elastic
  • Items to decorate the dragon wings and head (I bought a variety of glitter glue and my children also used felt tip pens)

The above list is to make one set of dragon wings and a dragon’s face. I made two sets with my children (one each) so obviously bought more goods accordingly. You should be able to buy these items from a local craft shop. I went to my nearest Hobbycraft to collect the things we’d need.

Shopping in Hobbycraft for items to make dragon costumes #cbias #shop

Shopping for items to make dragon costumes #shop #cbias

Creating home-made dragon costumes #cbias #shop

What you need to do

The first thing to do is to draw out your dragon wing design onto one of the A3-sized sheets of foam. Once you’re happy with it, place the second sheet of foam underneath the first and cut out the design. It’s a quick way to get the cutting done and make the wings as near identical as possible.

Creating Dragon Wings Collage #cbias #shop

Once the wings are cut out it’s time to design! I let Sophia and Dexter loose with the glitter glue and felt tip pens and they had a whale of a time decorating their wings.

Decorating home-made dragon wings #cbias #shop
Decorating home-made dragon wings #cbias #shop

Once the wings have been decorated and any glue has dried, cut one of the A4-sized foam sheets in half. This is what the dragon wings will be stuck onto so make sure the white foam will not show once the wings are fixed onto it. Before the white foam is stuck onto the wings to join them together, you need to fix the elastic onto the white foam. The elastic will loop around your child’s shoulders so that the wings can be worn. Measure two appropriate lengths of elastic (these should allow your child to put the wings on and take them off with ease and without hurting). Staple one end to the top of the white foam and and the other end of the elastic length to the bottom of the foam sheet. The elastic strips should be more or less in line with your child’s shoulders.

Making home-made dragon wings #cbias #shop

One the elastic has been fixed to the foam sheet, glue the wings to it using copious amounts of PVA glue. I also used superglue over the staples to make sure it was as secure as possible in those crucial areas.

While the wings are drying, it’s time to make the dragon’s face. Using the second sheet of A4-sized white foam, cut out two fangs and glue them to the underside of the foam visor (you could cut out more teeth if you wanted to). Then, cut out two shapes for the eyes. Using some of the left-over foam from the wings, cut out two similar, but smaller shapes. Glue these to the white foam to make the eyes and using superglue (you ideally need a quick drying solution), glue the eyes onto the top edge of the visor. Leave to dry.

Home-made foam dragon heads #cbias #shop

Once the wings and visor are dry, it’s time to dress up and have some fun!

Outdoor family activities: Dragon dress-up

Dragon costumes = fire-breathing fun outdoors!

The thing about dragon costumes is that you can fun with them indoors or outdoors. I’d say it’s arguably more fun to play dragons outdoors and in winter, not least because of the smoke your mouth emits when the weather turns cold and frosty.

I had been hoping that it might snow so that we could try and build a snow castle or snow dragon to go with our game, but sadly that was not to be (well not yet at any rate). It’s also not been cold enough to blow smoke from our mouths so that’s stopped our method acting effort. Despite this Christmas being nowhere near wintry enough to become fully fledged dragons, we’ve refused to let the wet weather deter us and have still played outdoors together.

Playing Dragons Collage

Dexter also has a knight’s sword and helmet so we’ve got a real ‘St George and the dragon’ role play game going on.

Outdoor family activities: Knights and dragons #cbias #shop

And of course, when we’re all a bit tired and cold, we can trudge indoors and continue the fun in front of a roaring winter fire. I’d say it’s the sort of game that’s just about perfect.

What do you like to do as a family in the winter?

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