Saturday, May 5, 2012

Seen any MONSTERS lately? WE HAVE!

All of a sudden, the twins are into monsters. Not a clue where that fascination came from. When they come over, the first thing they do is ask for flashlights. They close off the panel doors to the foyer and living room and shut the blinds, making it fairly dark in that part of the house. Should I be concerned? I ask them what they are doing in there. They say they are looking for monsters and politely tell me that it's okay for me to leave!'s probably safe....after all, they aren't going to actually find any monsters in my living room, are they? Well, not unless you count an occasional "monster" of a hairball "urped up" by one of my six cats. Even I've gone hunting for those before! No, the boys aren't going to come to any harm searching for monsters in my living room. They just don't exist! But before I can finish that thought, another one pops right up in my head. What kind of a grandma allows her little guys to search in vain behind couches and bookcases for something she knows darn well they will never find?
                                                     Shame on that kind of grandma!

Off with a bang goes the light bulb in my head. I am their grandma for heavens sake! If the boys want to find monsters in the dark with flashlights, by golly, it's my job to make sure it happens! How hard can that be? We already have the hunters, the darkness, and the flashlights - all we need now is....monsters!

Meet the gang! Top row, from left: Gus, Pickle, and Rodent
Bottom row from left: Firecracker and Mushroom
Monsters range from 20" Rodent to 27" Gus
I'm glad that I am fairly "artsy." I know that with papier mache you can pretty much make anything you need! Way back, the French used to live on furniture they made with it. Houses too, I am pretty sure. Cardboard boxes, newspaper, tape, flour, paint and all kinds of cute crafty junk - who doesn't have all that in their household inventory? I immediately get to work. I'll make three monsters! Hmmm, no....maybe five! Or why not six? Oh, all right! SEVEN!...but no more! And I'll be generous and let the twins paint and decorate two of them, then it won't be so obvious how grandma busted in and did all the fun stuff herself! And then I'll hide them! In the woods! The boys can search for them when it's just starting to get dark, toting the flashlights they love. Oooo, spooky! Better invite mommy and daddy, too. Just in case. You know, (wink, wink!) if we end up needing some help carrying the monsters back home!

Here's the plan. The boys paint their monsters on Thursday. On Friday evening, about 7 PM, the family joins us for dinner...a "monster" of a meal! Once we're stuffed, the mini-monsters make their reappearance along with bowls of crafty things for decorating them. Pom poms, yarn, stickable foam shapes, paper scraps...that kind of stuff! Mommy and daddy team up to help the boys while grandpa and grandma take tons of pictures. When it's just nearly dark, oh maybe 8:30-ish, we grab our flashlights, plop on our "Monster Patrol" helmets, pick up our "Monster Hunter Check-off Cards" and venture out, looking for those darn critters who like to hide along our favorite trail in the woods. Very important to be prepared because this time....ohhhh yes! Those monsters are REALLY gonna be out there!

Properly designed helmets are required for several reasons. First of all, they identify you as an authentic member of the Monster Patrol. Secondly, they protect you from random items that mischievous monsters may decide to toss at you for fun, just to get your attention! Yet another reason is that if you are a three year old little boy out on your first monster hunt, you are going to look pretty darn cute wearing one of these!

If you go a-monster-huntin'
you need to know what you're lookin' for! These take-along cards clipped to your belt give you an idea of what's hidin' in them woods!

When you spot a monster, you
check off the orange square on the card. That way, with every one of them accounted for, you know the
woods are safe!

It is not unusual for a monster to have three eyeballs! ("The better to see you with, my dear!")
However, when corrective lenses are required, expect them to be a custom order.
Here is Pickle, sporting his new triple-view gear!

Thursday arrived at last! The boys chose their colors and got right to work. They learned how to keep their brushes to themselves and I learned that three year old attention spans must be respected. The boys painted for about 10 minutes until the novelty wore off. Nick returned a little later to work for another five minutes. With their permission, grandma completed the painting for everybody. 

I used acrylic paint for my creatures. Washable tempera was used by the twins.

Finally! Friday! Let the Monster Partying begin!

Once dinner was cleared away, the boys chose partners for the crafty work of decorating their own scary creatures. Sae, who loves any kind of gluing, teamed up with mommy.....

And Nick, who usually specializes in cutting with scissors, worked with daddy.....

Egg carton eyeballs and a dripping glue effect warn predators not to mess with Sae's fearsome dude!

Nick puts the finishing touches on his super-scary blue guy!

By now it's nearly dark enough to go out huntin' for MONSTERS! An animated reading of Maurice Sendak's classic, "Where the Wild Things Are" has put us in the mood. It has also assured us that if we change our minds out there, we can always just come back inside to a meal that's still nice and warm!

Armed with flashlights, the twins hear the rules and see the Monster Hunter Check-off Cards for the first time. Now they know exactly what lurks out there and what they must work together to find!

                                                                 Shhhh! Did you hear that?

                        Look! We found Gus! And he's really not scary at all...just kinda goofy lookin'!
                  And you probably could say the same thing about Firecracker, 'cause here he is below!

                                          There you are, Pickle! And don't say you can't see us!

                                    There's more of them out here, brother! I can just feel it!

                      And of course we found them all...including purple Mushroom, pictured above!

Grandma was quick to hand out yellow glow sticks to the winners....perfect fun for concluding moments in the now deep and very dark, dark woods! Then we went back inside, where the safety of grandma's house welcomed two little boys who bravely ventured out to "where the wild things are" and returned in triumph to tell all about it!

I made a new friend last week when I discovered a great "grandma blog." Connie, at lives a gracious philosophy. "Life should be about making memories," she states. That beautiful sentiment has not left my mind since I read it, and I think of it now. One day, these little boys will likely become married men. Will I still be here to witness that? I don't know for sure, of course, but if I am, there is one thing to be certain about. It will be hard to see them stand at the altar without reliving some of the memories we are making together right now. Maybe they, too, will have these days in mind then, giving me a momentary glance as we both remember, for one fleeting second, the evening we searched the woods in pursuit of monsters made of paper because grandma could not bear to see her little guys looking for something they would never find.

If you'd like to make a monster or two, see my step by step directions here.


  1. This is just wonderful and those boys will never forget it -- neither will you. It really is all about making memories and you are sure doing an amazing job!

  2. This Monster Hunt is the cutest thing EVER!
    These 2 lucky boys are so fortunate to have a Grandma who takes so much time and gives so much love into everything she does.
    Family, love and time spent together = wonderful memories!!
    Way to ROCK Grandma Joyce

  3. Oh my goodness what an adventure! That was truly inspirational, a real memory making time! It’s hard to tell who’s having the most fun, grandma or the grandkids :) I have wanted to do paper mache with my grand kids and you have given me some good ideas. I look forward to reading all about your future adventures that you create. Thank you for the shout out, and for linking up with me at Say It Saturday.

  4. Now that is an exceptional grandma activity. Lucky children to have you to feed their imaginations. Loved it.

  5. What an awesome grandma you are. I can't wait until my grandsons are old enough for a monster hunt. This looks like such fun for all. Surely took much work on your part, but obviously worth it.

  6. Thank you ladies, for your kind, encouraging words! The best indicator that this project was a success is the frequent requests mommy is getting to go hunting again for monsters at grandma's! So, of course, we'll do it all again...and again...and again!

  7. What a great idea. My grandson would love to go monster hunting. This would be perfect for a summer activity. Can you teach us how to make the monsters. Thanks.

  8. That is amazing! You did such a great job on the monsters. Grandma's house is so much fun! I am a new follower. Thanks for linking up at Mom's Library. Hope you will follow me back :)

  9. Great ideas! What a fun grandma you are.