Belinda @ Kids Matter
I stepped out the door to a nippy 60 degrees this morning. Suddenly, I was reminded of the season. I’ve always been quite fond of autumn. I look forward to the beauty of the leaves changing, the nip in the air, shorter days longer nights, and most importantly… those fabulous bonfires with the grandchildren. You haven’t truly experienced the wonder of fall until you have sat bundled in a blanket, surrounded by loved ones, with a marshmallow blazing on a stick. Oh, the great fun of the bonfire!
Fun, yes, but for a worrying Nana like myself, I spent a lot of the time creating a barrier between the children and the fire. I took into account the clumsy and tired and exerted extra effort to keep them safely from the fire. The first few bonfires with the grandkids, I have to tell you, I was a nervous wreck! I spent the majority of the time circling the fire instead of enjoying it. Escorting children back to their seats instead of teaching them. I was yelling, “blow the marshmallow out!” instead of delighting in the essence of the rich gooey toasted marshmallow. Finally, it occurred to me there was a way to bring a little peace to the Indians circling the fire preparing for war in our backyard.
Spooky stories!!! This was the answer to recapturing my sanity and inspiring great adventures in my grandchildren’s minds! They are young, so the stories can’t really be too scary. It’s the build of the story that captures their attention. The whispers, the sudden scary noises thrown in, and best of all including their names into the story, pull them into the story with intensity. It’s not so much the words of the story, but the drama you bring in telling it. Using different voices create characters that go on great adventures and pull in things your children love like a favorite doll or toy. The more creative you get with the story the closer to the edge of the seat you will have the child.
I have told many a scary story around the bonfire. Besides the marshmallows, that is the children’s favorite part of the bonfire. Before Grandpa even has the fire blazing, I hear, “Tell us a spooky story, Nana, but not real spooky and with a funny ending!” Yes, that is one of my great accomplishments… the spooky story with the funny ending. Nothing makes me happier than watching my babies faces light up as they get into the story. The look of anticipation is heartwarming. This is the kind of excitement you want to see in a child; inspiration, the desire to learn and grow. I see spooky story time as an opportunity to inspire, motivate, and encourage great adventures in growing minds.
THUMPS in the Night: A Spooky Funny Story for the Bonfire
The children were playing in the yard beneath the porch light when suddenly they heard a THUMP. After the thump, a SQUEEAAAKKK, then a SLAM! The noises repeated over and over each time growing more eerie. The porch light began to fade slowly until it was no more. The children crept around the yard holding hands… eyes wide as flashlights in search of the thump. Something swooshed by them touching them ever so slightly on the legs then vanished into the darkness. The children screamed! They clasped hands tighter and tighter as they made their trek through the jungle that was the backyard. THUMP! SQUUUEEEAAAKKK! SLAM!... THUMP! SQUUUEEEAAAKKK! SLAM! Over and over came the noises… louder and LOUDER until the children realized the noises were coming from right above their heads. THUMP!!! The children froze where they stood; too frightened to even look toward the sound. Their tiny bodies shook… their teeth rattled… their knees knocked. SQUEEEAAAAKKK!!! “Don’t move,” whispered the little girl. The little boy, slightly clumsy, fell over something leaning against the tree and made a loud crashing sound. The frightened little girl screamed, “AHHHHHHHHH!” Then the boy screamed, “AHHHHHHHHH!” Then they screamed together, “AHHHHHHHHH!” Fear crept in like a cat on the prowl on a dark, dark night in a big, dark jungle. THUMP! SQUUUEEEAAAKKK! SLAM!... THUMP! SQUUUEEEAAAKKK! SLAM! The little boy looked up toward the sound. With each squeak he saw a light. With each slam the light disappeared. The little boy looked to see what had made him fall and he saw, there in the shadows, a ladder, a very tall ladder that went all the way up to the top of the tall, tall tree. THUMP! SQUUUEEEAAAKKK! SLAM! The children stepped up the ladder… step by step they came closer and closer to the sound. Finally they could see the THUMP… it was a knock. It was a squirrel knocking on the tree. SQUUUEEEAAAAKK! It was a door opening in the top of the tall, tall tree. The squirrel raced in. SLAM! The door closed. They reached the tiny, tiny door in the top of the tall, tall tree, in the middle of the dark, dark night. They knocked on the door. The door swung open with that same familiar SQUUUEEEAAAAKK! There, standing at the little tiny door was a big… fury… grey… squirrel who screamed out in this big high pitched squeal... “Happy Birthday!!!! It’s about time you guys got here! What’s a birthday party without the guest of honor? Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday…” The squirrels sang and danced and shook their big fluffy tails. The little girl and the little boy were no longer afraid of the thumps in the night because they knew… somewhere in the yard it was somebody’s birthday party.