Shorter days and colder weather means that kids have less time for playing outside as we head into the autumn and winter months. Keeping them entertained without resorting to hours spent in front of the telly can be achieved with some fun and simple craft activities that the whole family can enjoy.
What you’ll need: washing-up liquid, non-toxic washable paints, drinking glasses, straws, and paper.
This is the perfect activity for rainy days, though you will still need to dress for wet weather! Bubble painting is great fun for kids, especially ones who like to blow bubbles in their drinks. It can sometimes get messy, so to protect your table use a cheap shower curtain or a disposable table cloth, and plastic aprons to protect clothes.
Take a glass and fill it about half way with water, then add a generous squirt of paint and washing-up liquid. Then just use a straw to blow bubbles in the water so colourful suds billow up. (The ingredients aren’t harmful, but do keep an eye on children who might be tempted to drink through the straw and get a mouthful of soapy paint and water.)
Once the bubbles rise above the rim of the glass, place your sheet of paper over the top to create an imprint. You’ll end up with a pretty bubble pattern in the colour of the paint used. Repeat this with lots of different colours to make a beautiful piece of art.
Star Wars Toilet Roll Characters
What you’ll need: toilet roll tubes, glue, pencils, acrylic paint, brushes, and extra decorations.
Star Wars fever is definitely in the air with the new film on the way later this year. If you have Star Wars-mad kids (or adults), then they will have great fun making and playing with these characters.
Start by taking one of the toilet roll tubes and cut four slits a couple of centimetres long at roughly equal distance around one end. This is so you can fold them down on top of each other like the top of a box. Glue the flaps down firmly to form the head of your character. Give the whole tube a coat of white paint and leave it to dry.
Once dry, sketch out the features of your character using a pencil, and then you can get painting to bring them to life. Use whatever you like to add details, such as beads painted brown for Princess Leia’s hair, or use some fabric to make a cloak for Darth Vader. You could even give them little accessories like a lightsaber or blaster.
Colourful Storage Jars
What you’ll need: clean glass jars, coloured tissue paper, PVA glue, and a brush.
Jars are fantastic for making all sorts of crafty things, and you can use any size or shape you like for making these colourful creations. They’re great for storing pens and pencils, or just for decoration, and you can mix and match coloured tissue paper to create lots of different looks.
Start by tearing up your choice of tissue paper into small pieces, roughly the size of a £2 coin. Mix some PVA glue with a little water, roughly four parts glue to one part water. Take your jar and brush a small section with the glue mixture. Place a piece of tissue paper onto the glued section, and brush a little more glue over the top. Keep going until you cover the whole jar.
You can experiment with different shapes and colours of paper, perhaps making stripes or a polkadot pattern. Leave the jar to completely dry once you’ve finished.
Egg Carton Sea Creatures
What you’ll need: cardboard egg box, acrylic paints, brushes, glue, coloured paper, and other decorations.
This is a great activity for exercising your kids’ imaginations. You simply start by painting the bottom of your egg box so each little cup is a different colour. Cut out each cup once they’re dry, and now you’re ready to get creative.
You can create an octopus by sticking on strands of ribbon or paper, or a fish by cutting out fins and sticking them on. You could also make a crab with paper claws, or maybe a clam by attaching two cups together with sticky tape. Use googly eyes to bring the creatures to life, or use felt pens to draw on eyes and other details.