When the kids are clamouring for your attention, the distraction of technology is often an easy way to help maintain your sanity. But as most parents have learned, too much screen time can create its own set of problems. The good news is, there are countless ways to keep little ones entertained without the aid of tech. Swap the iPads for paint brushes and you’ll have them absorbed in projects that will give you a break from the endless cries of “I’m bored!” Better still, you can muck in and get messy with them!
Best of all, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to make a start on crafty, kid-friendly projects. Get creative with discarded items you have around the house and with a bit of imagination you’ll be able to bring any project to life.
While playgrounds and public parks might be off limits for now, there’s much fun to create at home in your own private backyard or courtyard. Grab some plant pots (or renovate some old ones) and invite little ones to design their own bright creations with coloured paints. Next, send them around the backyard on a treasure hunt to find some smooth pebbles or stones. Once they’ve chosen their favourites then can decorate each one with paint. Older kids might add plant names for herb pots while youngsters can have a go at painting flowers, animals, birds or cute faces (hello pet rock!). Otherwise, just let them freestyle and see what happens!
Another super simple backyard activity is creating a stick windchime. Get them to gather the best sticks they can find from around your garden. Next, paint each one with different colours and patterns then hang with string from a branch. Simple suncatchers can be made with a clear plastic saucer and coloured tissue paper to stick on. Hang them in the garden and let the sparkling sun shine through.
Give kids a lesson about nature by helping them make a bird feeder to hang from a tree in your backyard. You can find simple recipes online, but essentially you will need gelatine, corn syrup, birdseed, cookie cutters, baking paper and string. This is a great way to get the young minds practising their numbers (measuring and weighing) and their motor skills, depending on the age group. And, what better way to get them learning about our feathery friends!
Home schooling is daunting for both parents and kids. Try making the process of learning more fun by getting children to make or personalise their stationery. Using an old tin can (points for upcycling) you can either paint straight on or cover with colourful fabric or wrapping paper first. Go full bling with stickers, glitter, ribbon, jewels, pom poms and buttons – the possibilities are endless. For a more natural look, gather some fallen autumn leaves or flowers and allow to dry out before sticking on the tin. Now that’s sm-art!
Reading really captures kids’ attention, and you can add to the fun with textured bookmarks to keep their noses in their readers…and out of trouble. Using either popsicle sticks or plain cardboard, give the kids a theme (perhaps their favourite superhero, animal or cartoon character) and suggest that they make one for each member of the family as gifts.
Bring out their inner Picasso with a canvas and paints. No brushes? Try using cut-up sponges to create background texture and use cotton buds for fine dots… or they can just use their fingers!
Toilet rolls might be in short supply, but for home crafters their cardboard inner tubes are just as in demand. Save 10 of them and you’ve got a great set of bowling pins! Kids can customise their ‘pins’ with a traditional white and red flourish or any way they want. Next, create a lane on the floor using masking tape, grab a tennis ball and let the games begin! Involve the whole family by turning it into a friendly tournament with multiple sets and lanes.
For the older kids who might prefer a solo project, making a DIY ping pong set up (they can utilise any table in the house, garage or patio) is a nice way to learn new skills. Bats can be made using large popsicle sticks stuck to corrugated cardboard, using craft foam and tape. Collect extra sticks and some ribbon for the net, which can be held up with blue tack. Tip: the sturdier the bats the longer they’ll last. A great game that can be played in any weather!
For more crafty ideas and inspiration, visit our arts & crafts retailers.
*Please note that due to COVID-19, some stores may be closed at this time, but most are still available for online purchases. For an updated list of Woodgrove retailers still trading please click here.