Ask any parent and they will tell you that keeping their energetic children entertained is a challenge. Especially during winter when it’s a bit too cold to run around outside, but too early for endless Christmas films.
Of course, we can hand them an iPad in exchange for a few hours of silence, but this is not a healthy or sustainable way to keep children occupied. Children need to be mentally stimulated. Sounds, smells, colours – all of these things are fascinating to kids and it is up to the parents to find a way to exploit this curiosity and channel it into positive and productive energy.
Arts and crafts have long been a favourite with parents who want to engage with their children and keep them entertained. Not only is art good fun, but it leaves the child with a feeling of achievement and satisfaction that they have created something.
So, next time you encounter a rainy weekend, here are five arts and crafts ideas you can add to your arsenal to keep your kids thoroughly entertained.
Accompany your child out into the garden or the closest place where they can find leaves on the ground. Bundle up as many fallen leaves as you think you’ll need (the drier they are the better) and head back to the warmth of your home. Now, you can use these leaves for all kinds of arts and crafts. You can stick them to paper, where they can form the mane of a lion or the body of a hedgehog, or you can draw on the leaves themselves.
Glitter Glue Abacus
Not only is this project fun, but it is also educational. You will need ten lollipop sticks (or anything that resembles one) for this activity. On each of the lollipop sticks you will put a number, from one up to ten. You will write the number at one end and then add a corresponding number of blobs of glitter glue. Making these will help your little one with their counting, and they can be used for simple addition and subtraction afterwards.
These are so simple to make and are both entertaining and calming to use afterwards. Take an empty glass jar and fill it to two inches from the top with hot water. Then add in clear glue, glitter glue and as much glitter as you can find. Stir the mixture with a spoon and then cover the rim of the jar with glue before putting on the lid – this will ensure the lid stays on and you don’t end up with a glittery mess all over the floor.
This can be messy so set this up in your kitchen and put newspaper down to minimise the clean up. The ingredients are simple – cornflour and water. Mix these two together and you will create a substance that looks liquid but is hard to the touch. Watch as your children have hours of fun creating shapes with the playdough and then watching them ooze into puddles.
Toilet Roll Butterflies
Start hoarding your empty toilet rolls now because you will need a lot for this activity. Give each child four, along with paint, glue and pipe cleaners. To make the wings of the butterfly, you’ll need to slightly flatten each toilet roll so you get an oval shape. Once you have decorated and painted the toilet rolls, join the four rolls together so that four corners of the ovals meet in the middle. Use pipe cleaners to create the butterfly’s antennae.