A few weeks back, my daughter mentioned that one of her classmates had watched a movie with Chucky in it. My husband and I stared at each other thinking she couldn’t possibly mean what we thought she meant, because she is a first-grader. But after a few days of her talking about this, we realized that not only had the child in question seen Child’s Play, it hadn’t been an accidental glimpse of a movie being watched by their parents or an older sibling—it had been a full-on viewing of the film. Horror movies dominated the playground for at least week, because as this classmate talked about the movie they’d seen, another talked about having seen a movie in the Friday the 13th series and another shared the story of Bloody Mary. Awesome.
My daughter was suddenly afraid of the dark, and having bad dreams and difficulty sleeping, and my husband and I were at a loss. She’s always slept with a Twilight Turtle, and after we got an Octo for travel, she added that, too. (The Octo changes color, and she couldn’t decide which she like better, so she kept them both.) She likes to read in bed, so she has a little light. She picked the light out because it’s adorable, but it’s actually a camp lantern; it can actually get pretty bright if it’s turned up all the way. We were pretty good on the obvious solution night lights, and they didn’t seem to be helping, so what to do?
Then I had a brilliant idea (if I do say so myself)! A few months back, my family attended a presentation given by a member of our local Native American tribe, the Ojibwe. During the presentation, the presenter shared a few examples of a dreamcatcher, and talked about how dreamcatchers were made and used. I remembered that I had come across a dreamcatcher craft project for making these and now seemed like a perfect time to break it out. I reminded her about what we had learned about dreamcatchers and asked if she wanted to make one and see if it helped.
We headed out to the store and got an embroidery hoop (we only used the inside hoop, so we didn’t have the metal closure sticking out on the dream catcher), and feathers. While we did have pretty much all of the supplies we needed at home, my daughter picked out some extra yarn that would better match the décor in her room—and had glitter that would be extra-sticky to catch the bad dreams.
The tutorial is pretty clear, but I found that we needed to use the hot glue gun a lot. I’m not sure if I let my daughter to a lot more than the original author did, or what, but, yeah. Hot glue was our friend.
For whatever reason, washi tape is impossible to get where I live (seriously, it’s weird), and we did this project on a whim, so I didn’t have time order any. We decided to wrap the embroidery hoop in yarn instead. We worked with medium-long pieces of yard that I tied on and my daughter wrapped. I hot-glued the end of each piece when she was done, then tied on the next piece and repeated. Of course, depending on your child’s age and fine motor skills, they may be able to do all that on their own!
We wove the web using a different yarn than the one wrapping our embroidery hoop.
We made tassels. Okay. I made tassels while my daughter supervised. Can I just say that tassel-making is ridiculously fun and I want to make all the tassels? We added feathers and other decorative pieces. (To string the pom poms, I threaded yarn onto a tapestry needle and then ran the needle through the center of the pom poms.)
I think the one thing that I found most amazing was that this project took a couple hours because it took so long wrap the hoop—and it held my daughter’s attention the whole time. She was completely engrossed. However, if that’s not your experience, this is a project that can be broken up and done in chunks: do the hoop in one sitting, the dangly-bits in another, and the assembly in a third, for example. It’s easy enough to find a way to make it work for your kids.
Speaking of working, the dreamcatcher did the trick! After the first night with the dreamcatcher hanging in her room, my daughter reported fewer bad dreams, and within a couple days, her sleep was back to normal. (I’m sure it helped that the fascination with horror movies calmed down at school, too, but I’ll take those parenting wins where I can get ’em!)
Here’s to happy crafting and sweet dreams!
And for the love of God, if you’re the family that lets your first-grader watch horror movies (and yes, I’m kind of judging you) could at least tell them to keep that nonsense to themselves when they’re at school? Thanks.