Roald Dahl – the infamous children’s author – was born 99 years ago today, on the 13 September 1916 in Llandaff, Wales. The master writer may have popped off a quarter of a century ago, but his kooky characters– from chocky-mad Willy Wonka to the truly nasty Twits – live on, and are as much loved by today’s kids as they were when we were nippers. So here are four Dahliciously fun ways for your little ’uns to celebrate the great man’s big day. In the words of Willy himself: “Many wonderful surprises await you!”
Roald Dahl Puppet Theatre
With so many well-loved characters to choose from, why stick with one when you can get the whole gang together on stage? The Roald Dahl Puppet Theatre contains a sturdy cardboard stage with six different backdrops from Roald Dahl stories: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Witches, The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox. Plus, there are 60 (yes, 60) stick puppets of all the fave characters, so your dinky directors will have endless possibilities for fun and mischief as they let their imaginations go crazy. A nice whoopsy-wiffling inclusion are the story-specific envelopes, so that all the puppets from each tale can be stored away, keeping them safe and sound for their next play. And while the theatre requires a bit of assembly, it’s child play to get it up and running (but if you get stuck, the instructions are on the box). Let the gobblefunk fun begin…
The Roald Dahl Puppet Theatre (ages 6+): £14.99. truffleshuffle.co.uk
Willy Wonka Sweet and Chocolate Making Set
If there’s something most dads and all kids have in common it’s their love of chocolate – not just eating it, but melting it, moulding it and squishing it into Dahlicious chocky treats. And who better to show you the ropes than the most talented, though clearly bonkers, chocolate maker the world has ever seen, Mr Wonka himself? This Willy Wonka Chocolate and Sweet Making Set contains 10 tooth-tingling recipes, from Mini Rainbow Cakes and Glittery Fudge to Magical Mini Brownies and Multi-Coloured Popping Candy Chocolates. A nice touch is that the recipes are split into those suitable for younger chefs to make (with adult supervision) and some more suited to budding Delia’s. The set contains a silicone sweet mould, a set of colour-coded measuring spoons (so no pesky weighing of ingredients needed), four paper sweet bags in which to put chocolate creations when finished, plus 30 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stickers to decorate said sweet bags. Ready? Steady? Crodscollop!
Paladone’s Willy Wonka Sweet and Chocolate Making Set (ages 5+): £13.15. amazon.co.uk (wholesale: paladone.com)
3 Fantabulous Family Card Games
If your whole family are Dahl fans (and quite honestly, who isn’t?), a Twit-errific way for you all to join in the birthday fun is with Roald Dahl’s 3 Fantabulous Family Card Games. Inside the box you’ll find three oldies but goodies card games – Happy Families, Snap and Rummy – all with Roald Dahl characters and gloriumptious Quentin Blake illustrations. Not only are the card games a great way for you and the kids to while away a rainy afternoon indoors, but they also help inquisitive little mischief-makers enhance their thinking and problem-solving skills. Fantabulous!
Roald Dahl’s 3 Fantabulous Family Card Games (ages 6+): £8. Lagoon.co.uk
Don’t forget Delicious Dress Up Day
If you start seeing flocks of Tango-faced or top-hatted kids come 25th September, don’t panic. It’s all down to Dahlicious Dress Up Day, when kids – and big kids – across the country get to dress up as their fave RD character. So be prepared for schools and workplaces everywhere to be brimming with Oompa-Loompas, Twits and Matildas in aid of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. The money raised will help ensure that children in the UK living with serious conditions have the chance to have a childhood full of marvellous mischief.
To make sure your pint-sized RD fan is dressed to impress on Dahlicious Dress Up Day, get them kitted out as one of their favourite characters. From Wonka’s green-locked Oompa Loompas and suave Fantastic Mr Fox to the loveable BFG and clever-clogs Matilda, there’s sure to be a kooky outfit that sets their imaginations phizz-whizzing.
Roald Dahl Fancy Dress Outfits (ages 4 to 100!): £14.99-£27.99. partydelights.co.uk