Children painting stars on paper

Keep the kids occupied & learning while you relax

Make a set of bookmarks

Getting children to read has never been easy, nor will it ever be, with the ever-growing list of alternative options which nowadays involve high-tech gizmos and online leader boards. But is there any better feeling that seeing your young ones lose themselves in a story? Kickstart their journey by involving them in some arts and crafts. The best thing about making bookmarks? There are no rules. If it can slot between two pages, it’s a bookmark. We suggest tailoring it around a current interest – have them draw their favourite character or cut them out of a magazine – and soon enough you’ll see that opening the book to admire it may just turn into them reading a page or two.

Make a potato print

This one’s as old as time, so everyone will no doubt have done it at some point. Of course, as sharp knives are involved, best leave the spud-cutting to yourself or a fellow adult but, once your shape’s ready to go, kids are bound to love the process of dipping and dabbing their new creation. Need some guidance? Check out this handy video tutorial. There’s never been more time to get them into making art.

Curate a classic film day

Okay, we know we said no screens, but this one’s an exception. Take advantage of the fact that the little ones are waiting for anything to fill the time at the moment by introducing them to one of your favourite golden oldies. It might take some time for them to get used to the slow cuts and unfamiliar faces, but this is your chance to put film history in context. Why isn’t it in colour? Why doesn’t Chaplin talk? It may just spark their curiosity. Plus, it sure beats watching Frozen for the 100th time, no matter how catchy the songs are. In other words, perhaps it’s time to… let it go?

Host a fancy-dress competition

Who says a costume has to come ready-made from a shop? Not us, and not the kids either once you’ve introduced them to the magic of creating a Where’s Wally costume from just a stripy top, some glasses and a woolly hat. If you don’t want them rummaging around every wardrobe in the house, we recommend pre-selecting some items and keeping them in a chest, ready for the contest. 

Make playdough from scratch

One for the very young, and very young at heart. It’s not like you can pop down to your nearest toy shop at the moment, so what if we said you can make a fresh batch of the colourful stuff using only the ingredients in your pantry?  Watch a video tutorial here.