The idea was simple and beautiful, at first. All the children were to come to school dressed as a character from a book. My son's class is the youngest in the school and they have been having "Elmer Week" so we were asked to send them dressed in bright colours just like Elmer "unless you have another book character you really want to dress as" - which is where it all fell apart. You see, my boy doesn't want to dress up as a patchwork elephant, he wants to dress up as (drumroll please) The Enormous Turnip...
If there are any other mothers out there who need a high-speed, no-cost solution to making their child look like a turnip, here is how we did it (this can be adapted to any vegetable that takes your child's fancy):
Brown paper bag, large sheets of paper, pipe cleaners, reference material. The pipe cleaners were completely essential, if you don't have any to hand some of that thin garden wire would probably do a similar job.
The leaves are the key to the whole thing, I cut out three pairs of leaves and taped the pipe cleaners in a vein-like shape to three of the leaves. This gave the leaves some structure and meant we could give them a graceful arching shape(!) instead of having them just flap down. Green paper would have speeded things up but I didn't have any, so I set Sam to work:
Paint would have made this job much faster, but I was worried about soaking the tape that held the pipe cleaners on, and I'd gone to far to turn back and start again, and there was a bolognese sauce needing my attention in the kitchen...
Once decorated and with a pipe cleaner 'skeleton' in place, glue the pairs of leaves together. So there are three leaves, each with pipe cleaners sandwiched in the middle. I made an inch long cut in the base of each leaf, at the middle point, making two small flaps. I folded one forwards and one backwards giving the leaf a small stand at its base.
I cut a quick face hole out of the bag (tip: you can find the right size for the hole by making your child stand with a paper bag on their head while you poke them lightly in the face asking 'is this your chin?' 'Is this your eyebrow?' and marking with a pencil).
Adding the leaves to the main vegetable head took a bit of patience (it would help to not have pasta boiling over in the background as you do this). I found the best way was to use lots of small pieces of parcel tape to get everything in the right place while Sam wore the bag. Then remove the bag and thoroughly tape everything on as securely as you can.
Next morning, get your child to dress in the colour of the vegetable they are pretending to be, add the bag/leaf/hat and bend the pipe cleaners to add a gentle arching shape to the foliage. Then stand proudly at the edge of the playground as you watch your turnip running around with a group of colourful elephants.